Dryer Manufacturer Settles National Class Action

Dryer Manufacturer Settles National Class Action Photo: Electrolux.

Electrolux Home Products Inc. has struck a class action settlement over allegations that some of its clothes dryers catch fire because lint accumulates in proximity to the dryers’ heating elements.

The manufacturer has agreed to pay up to $8 million in plaintiffs attorney fees and court costs of $538,000 to resolve multiple class actions, according to court papers.

The litigation is pending before U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder of the Central District of California.

The plaintiffs lawyers, who are seeking the court’s approval of the settlement, said the accord would be a fair and adequate recovery for their clients. “The settlement here provides not only tangible benefits to the settlement class; it promotes safety by notifying the class members of the risks posed by lint accumulating in the dryers and develops instructions on a cleaning program to safely remove lint that has accumulated in the dryers and next to the heat source,” the plaintiffs said.

The plaintiffs also faced litigation risks, their attorneys said. “Electrolux will argue that the overwhelming majority of owners—more than 99.995 percent according to Electrolux—have not and will not experience any lint fire or other malfunctions related to plaintiffs’ defect theories,” they said. “Thus, Electrolux will assert that the dryers do not have a safety defect.”

Meanwhile, Electrolux did not admit liability in agreeing to resolve the case.

“Electrolux continues to vigorously deny plaintiffs’ defect allegations, denies any liability for any claims that have or could have been raised regarding the dryers in this lawsuit, maintains that its dryers are not defective, asserts numerous defenses to plaintiffs claims,” according to plaintiffs court papers.

Electrolux has agreed to reimburse class members who suffered fires in their dryers within the first decade after buying them for unreimbursed expenses up to $1,300 or the purchase price if less than $1,300.

The company has agree to provide a $350 cash rebate for class members to buy replacements dryers or to receive up to a 20 percent discount on other new Electrolux products.

Electrolux has agreed to provide free dryer cleaning for class members who have experienced, within the first five years they owned their dryers, problems smelling smoke or with lint buildup, sparking of their dryers’ heating elements, overheating or burning of laundry loads and other problems.The company has agreed to compensate claimants for future dryer fires.

The case is settling in advance of class certification but after class discovery.

Jonathan Marks of MarksADR LLC was the private mediator in the litigation.

The plaintiffs lawyers include Gretchen Nelson of Kreindler & Kreindler in Los Angeles; Edward Wallace, Amy Keller and Dawn Goulet of Wexler Wallace in Chicago; Erin Dickinson and Charles Crueger of Hansen Reynolds Dickinson Crueger in Milwaukee; and Gregory Coleman and Mark Silvey of Greg Coleman Law in Knoxville.

Amaris Elliott-Engel contributes to law.com.

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