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A class action claiming Whirlpool Corp. falsely labeled appliances with the Energy Star insignia is not pre-empted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to impose penalties in the case, a federal judge in Newark has ruled.

The EPA’s decision not to order Whirlpool to compensate buyers of the mislabeled washing machines does not rise to the level of a federal law that can be given pre-emptive effect, U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty of the District of New Jersey ruled in Dzielak v. Whirlpool.

While the judge denied motions to dismiss state-law consumer fraud and breach of warranty claims, he granted dismissal of a claim under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act because the act does not apply to warranties that are governed by other federal laws. He also granted dismissal of a claim for unjust enrichment against Whirlpool, since the plaintiffs bought their appliances at various retailers that are co-defendants in the case, rather than from the manufacturer.

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