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Two Philadelphia-area firms were among a group of 12 that recently resolved a class action against Maytag Corp. alleging that the company’s Neptune front-loading washing machines had trouble with their door-latches, circuit boards and accumulated mold after washes. A judge in St. Clair County, Ill., had approved the class settlement but its implementation was delayed while a class member appealed. That appeal was withdrawn last month, and settlement benefits are now being processed for 150,000 consumers who decided to take part in the settlement, said Jonathan Shub of the Philadelphia firm Sheller Ludwig & Badey. Shub was one of three co-lead counsel in the case, Mink v. Maytag Corp. Another Philadelphia-area firm, Kimmel & Silverman in Ambler, Pa., was also involved in the class action settlement. Mink combined at least 12 class actions that were filed around the country by plaintiffs who had complaints of clothing covered in mold and their machines malfunctioning. Shub’s firm filed suit in Camden County, N.J., on behalf of a class in October 2003. His and 11 other plaintiffs’ firms later combined efforts and selected a leadership counsel, which included Shub, William M. Audet of Alexander, Hawes & Audet in San Jose, Calif., and Joseph P. Danis of Carey & Danis in St. Louis. St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. O’Malley oversaw the settlement. Under the agreement, those who bought any model of the Maytag Neptune front-loading washing machine between April 1997 and Aug. 9, 2004, are entitled to one or more options. Maytag will try to fix the washer at no cost or reimburse an owner for money they already spent to repair their washers for problems mentioned in the lawsuit. Also, the consumers could be paid up to $500 for the cost of replacing the washers, or they could receive a “purchase certificate” of up to $1,000 to pay for a new washer if Maytag can’t fix the condition of the old unit. The settlement caps at $2 million the cash payments to the class for repair reimbursements or replacements, according to a court notice sent to class members. Class members have until Aug. 9 to send in a claim for service repairs or purchase certificates. O’Malley awarded the 12 class counsel firms $6.75 million in fees, Shub said. He declined to explain how the award was divided among the lawyers. Maytag was represented by John R. Doyle of McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago. Maytag’s local counsel was Richard J. Sexton of Lavin, O’Neil, Ricci, Cedrone & DiSipio in Philadelphia.

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