On October 11, 2016, the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted final approval of a class action settlement in a lawsuit alleging that over 18 million Whirlpool, Kitchenaid, and Kenmore dishwashers manufactured between 1998 and 2011 have a dangerous propensity to catch fire. The lawsuit alleged that the dishwasher control boards, all manufactured by Whirlpool, were defectively designed and have a tendency to overheat, posing a risk of electrical fire. Most fires are contained within the door of the dishwasher, although on rare occasions serious fires have resulted when service personnel have bypassed the dishwasher’s Thermal Cut-Off, a safety shut-off device.
The settlement provides broad relief including full recovery of costs spent on repairs; $200 to $300 in cash for Class Members who replaced their Dishwashers; $100 or a 30% rebate on the purchase of a new dishwasher for Class Members who experience an Overheating Event in the future; a rebate of 10% to 15% on the purchase of a new dishwasher to all Class Members regardless of whether they ever experience an Overheating Event; and enhanced safety warnings to service personnel about the dangers of bypassing Thermal Cut-Offs. Future control board overheating events are covered until February 2018 or ten years after purchase of the dishwasher, whichever is later, meaning some dishwashers are covered through the year 2021.
Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP (CSK&D) partners Tim Mathews and Steve Schwartz, along with Charles Fax of Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston, Levitan & Silver LLC, are co-lead counsel for the class. The Court remarked that “the results obtained by class counsel are impressive,” and that “[a]chieving these results undoubtedly took a high level of skill on the part of counsel” who the court has described as “among the most capable and experienced lawyers in the country in these kind of cases.” For more information, visit www.dishwasherfire.com.