Whirlpool/Sears Defective KitchenAid, Kenmore Dishwasher Class Action Lawsuit
By Mike Holter
A federal class action lawsuit claims Whirlpool and Sears sold defective KitchenAid and Kenmore-brand dishwashers with electronic control boards that can overheat and spontaneously burst into flames.
According to the class action lawsuit, Whirlpool and Sears market their KitchenAid and Kenmore dishwashers as top-of-the-line appliances that are of superior quality, reliability and longevity. However, Whirlpool and Sears concealed from the public that the electronic control boards in the dishwashers contain a dangerous defect that cause them to spontaneously overheat and cause the dishwasher to emit smoke and fumes and erupt in flames.
The KitchenAid and Kenmore defective dishwasher class action lawsuit also charges Whirlpool with failing to provide a satisfactory warranty that would cure or rectify the alleged defect, which the lawsuit alleges the company knew about since at least 2008.
The Whirlpool/Sears defective dishwasher class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of all U.S. consumers who purchased or acquired a KitchenAid or Kenmore dishwasher and its electronic control board overheated, smoked and/or caught on fire, and/or the dishwasher experienced a malfunction requiring replacement of the electronic control board.
It is asking the court to make Whirlpool and Sears pay for the repair and/or replacement of the defective dishwashers and/or defective parts and to establish a reimbursement program to honor warranty claims previously denied. It is also seeking restitution and damages for the proposed class.
A copy of the Whirlpool/Sears Defective KitchenAid/Kenmore Dishwasher Class Action Lawsuit can be read here: http://www.kitchenaidfire.com/files/whirlpool-dishwasher-fire-class-action-complaint.pdf.
The case is Steve Chambers, et al. v. Whirlpool Corporation, Sears Holdings Corp. and Sears, Roebuck & Co., Inc., U.S. District Court, Central District of California.
Whirlpool, Sears In Hot Water Over Dishwasher Fire Risks
Law360, New York (November 16, 2011, 4:50 PM ET) -- A group of consumers launched a putative class action last week in California federal court accusing Whirlpool Corp. and Sears Holdings Corp. of concealing a devastating circuit board defect that caused certain brand-name dishwashers to erupt into flames.
The complaint, lodged Nov. 9, says the defendants knew, or were reckless in not knowing, that certain KitchenAid, Kenmore and Whirlpool household dishwashers contained defective electronic control boards that spontaneously overheated, which caused them and other components in these dishwashers to melt, emit smoke and fumes, and combust.
Despite years of complaints, defendants never informed any purchaser of the existence of the design defect at the time of sale or thereafter, the complaint alleged. Instead, in their marketing and advertising, defendants uniformly and falsely represented and continue to misrepresent that the dishwashers are free from defects and that they will perform their essential function for their expected useful lives.
The complaint seeks certification of a national class of consumers who acquired a KitchenAid or Kenmore-branded household dishwasher that either caught fire or experienced a malfunction that resulted in the replacement of its electronic control board, as well as a California subclass of these purchasers and a national subclass of consumers who purchased a Whirlpool branded dishwasher that similarly malfunctioned within five years of purchase.
The plaintiffs additionally requested an injunction permanently barring Whirlpool and Sears from continuing to misrepresent the safety and effectiveness of these dishwashers and mandating them to pay for the repair or replacement of these defective products, as well as disgorgement of ill-gotten profits; compensatory, exemplary and statutory damages, and an order compelling the defendants to establish a program to reimburse previously denied warranty claims related to the alleged defect.
The 10 named plaintiffs residents of California, Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts all purchased Kenmore, KitchenAid or Whirlpool dishwashers for their homes from 2002 to 2007 that subsequently malfunctioned due to a defective circuit board, the component that performs all the major control functions of the dishwasher and enables the consumer to operate the dishwasher.
In the case of California residents David and Bach-Tuyet Brown, their KitchenAid dishwasher overheated while they were sleeping in April 2010, filling the house with smoke and causing them to spend $70,000 to replace the entire kitchen and to lose an additional $3,000 in rental income as a result of having to vacate the property for three weeks, according to the complaint.
The Kenmore Elite dishwasher that New Jersey resident Joseph Cicchelli purchased also began smoking in 2009, but Sears did not seem to be concerned about his report of a product fire and refused to compensate Joseph for his losses.
Collectively, the plaintiffs contend that Whirlpool and Sears have known about this alleged defect since at least 2008, when the first plaintiff complained about the problem, but that despite this knowledge, they have never warned consumers about the risk, recommended post-warranty repairs or issued a recall due to the high potential for serious fire hazard.
Reasonable consumers would not have purchased the dishwashers had they known of the defects, the complaint alleged.
The plaintiffs assert claims for breach of express and implied warranties, strict products liability, failure to warn, negligence and violations of California consumer protection law.
The plaintiffs are represented by Jeffrey M. Cohon and Kristina S. Keller of Cohon & Pollak LLP and David H. Weinstein of Weinstein Kitchenoff & Asher LLC.
Counsel information for Whirlpool was not immediately available.
The case is Steve Chambers et al. v. Whirlpool Corp. et al., case number 8:11-cv-01733, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
--Editing by Lindsay Naylor.
Beware: Dishwashers pose fire hazard
Lawsuit has been filed against Whirlpool
Updated: Wednesday, 16 Nov 2011, 11:49 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 16 Nov 2011, 10:15 PM EST
By Susan Hogan
(WPRI) - An important consumer alert tonight. Hundreds of people say their dishwashers caught fire!
Right now we've discovered a class action lawsuit has just been filed against whirlpool. The suit alleges the company knows about this dangerous defect but concealed it from the public.
We've uncovered hundreds of complaints from angry people nationwide who say they are lucky to be alive after their dishwashers unexpectedly caught fire. Russ Zito from Cumberland is one of those people.
He says it all started early one morning with "A puff of smoke, and burning plastic." With his kids still sleeping, Russ raced to shut off the circuit breaker when he noticed his Kitchenaid dishwasher was on fire.
"Typically we run it at night when we go to bed. Thank god we didn't do that."
Russ found the fire started in the circuit board. He took pictures as proof. "It burnt a hole, burned right through the control board," says Russ.
Eyewitness News uncovered Russ is not alone. We found hundreds of complaints on a website started by outraged homeowners who all say their Kitchenaid dishwashers caught fire. One man says his dishwasher was sparking and shooting flames.
Despite all of these complaints there has been no recall. We contacted the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and they confirmed they have received complaints and are investigating.
Whirlpool, the parent company of Kitchenaid sent us this statement:
"We are currently investigating incidents that have been brought to our attention, and as always, working closely with appropriate product safety agencies in doing so."
Russ, along with hundreds of other Kitchenaid customers are now part of a class action lawsuit filed this week. Eyewitness News obtained the suit from federal court in California.
It says this is a devastating defect in the control board creates a substantial and unreasonable risk of property damage, injury and death.
Russ says he reported his dishwasher fire to the company but felt they didn't take it seriously enough.
"We need a first casualty," he says. "Somebody's house burns down maybe that's when they'll start thinking about it."
In response to the class action lawsuit, Whirlpool says it does not comment on pending litigation.
KitchenAid Dishwashers Prone to Fire
According to WPRI, KitchenAid dishwashers may be prone to causing dangerous fires. Reportedly, homeowners from around the country have rained in complaints that their dishwashers have unexpectedly sparked or burst into flames. Apparently, the circuit boards and wiring in the possibly defective products are the cause of the fires. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has also confirmed that they received reports of the danger and is in the process of investigating.
In the news article, one user commented, "Typically we run it at night when we go to bed. Thank god we didn't do that." This quote illustrates the extreme danger that these potentially defective products could present to consumers. Before the actual fire, some warning signs appear to include the smell of smoke and burning plastic. Some firefighters called to the scenes have observed that if the incidents were not stopped early, the fires would most likely spread. One class action lawsuit has already been filed, citing the substantial and unreasonable risk of property damage, injury and death.
Whirlpool, the parent company of KitchenAid, commented: "We are currently investigating incidents that have been brought to our attention, and as always, working closely with appropriate product safety agencies in doing so."
If you or a loved one has owned a KitchenAid dishwasher and have experienced fire or any other related incident, you may be eligible to enter a class action lawsuit against Whirlpool. The current suit claims that Whirlpool knew about the dangerous defect but failed to warn consumers. The company has not yet commented on the pending class action suit.
Whirlpool & Sears Kenmore & KitchenAid Dishwasher Class Action Lawsuit Complaint Filed Over Alleged Overheating Of Electronic Control Board
November 18, 2011
Kenmore, KitchenAid & Whirpool Dishwasher Purchasers File Class Action Lawsuit Complaint Against Sears And Whirlpool Over Allegedly Defective Dishwasher Electronic Control Boards That Allegedly Can Overheat, Smoke And/Or Catch On Fire.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Whirlpool Corporation (Whirlpool), Sears Holdings Corp, and Sears Roebuck & Co, Inc. (Sears) (collectively Defendants) in the United States District Court for the Central District of California (styled Steve Chambers, Lynn Van Der Veer, David Brown, Bach-Tuyet Brown, Kevin Donnell, Joseph Cicchelli, Kurt Himler, Susan Milicia, Gary LeBlanc and James Cashman v. Whirlpool Corporation, Sears Holdings Corp, and Sears Roebuck & Co, Inc. et al Class Action Case No. CV11-1733), alleging, among other things, that Whirlpool & Sears designed, manufactured, advertised, marketed, and sold KitchenAid and Kennmore brand dishwashers that contained defective electronic control boards that can overheat causing the control board and Dishwasher components to melt, smoke and burst into flames, according to the Whirlpool & Sears Kenmore & KitchenAid Dishwasher electronic control board overheating class action lawsuit complaint.
The Whirlpool & Sears Kenmore & KitchenAid Dishwasher electronic control board overheating class action lawsuit complaint is reportedly brought on behalf of a putative class consisting of the following persons, unless otherwise excluded:
All consumers in the United States that (a) purchased or otherwise acquired a KitchenAid or Kenmore-branded Dishwasher (b) primarily for family, or household purposes, and not for resale, and (c) its electronic control board overheated, smoked and/or caught on fire, and/or the Dishwasher experienced malfunction requiring replacement of the electronic control board.
All consumers that (a) purchased a new Whirlpool-branded Dishwasher (b) primarily for family, or household purposes, and not for resale, and (c) its electronic control board overheated, smoked and/or caught on fire, and/or the Dishwasher experienced malfunction requiring replacement of the electronic control board; (d) within five years of purchase. (the National Subclass)
All consumers who (a) purchased a new KitchenAid or Kenmore-branded Dishwasher (b) primarily for family, or household purposes, and not for resale, and (c) its electronic control board overheated, smoked and/or caught on fire, and/or the Dishwasher experienced malfunction requiring replacement of the electronic control board. (the California Subclass)
The Whirlpool & Sears Kenmore & KitchenAid Dishwasher electronic control board overheating class action lawsuit complaint reportedly asserts claims for alleged violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, violations of unfair business practices act, fraudulent concealment, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, strict products liability and failure to warn, unjust enrichment and negligence.
2 Investigators: Dishwasher Danger
CHICAGO (CBS) Dishwashers catching fire is a disturbing trend with brands like KitchenAid, Kenmore and Whirlpool.
All are manufactured by Whirlpool, but so far, there hasn't been a recall. As CBS 2's Pam Zekman reports, that's a big concern to families who have had fires.
It terrifies me to think what would have happened, Virginia O'Beirne says. I'm afraid the kitchen would have caught fire.
It didn't, because Virgina and Mike O'Beirne were home when their KitchenAid dishwasher started smoking and sparking.
The control panel area was glowing red as the circuit board beneath burned, Mike O'Beirne says.
The O'Beirnes called KitchenAid and were told there were no problems with their model. But the company agreed to send them a new dishwasher at half the cost.
This isn't an isolated incident. Hundreds of people across the country say their dishwashers also caught fire.
A website created by another victim of a dishwasher fire lists 400 complaints regarding KitchenAid, Kenmore and Whirlpool dishwashers of various models, ranging from almost new to 10 years old. Fifteen of those were reported right here in the Chicago area, including by John and Irma Jarvis.
"The kitchen was full of smoke," Irma Jarvis recalled. "All the alarms went off."
The Jarvis family's KitchenAid dishwasher had started smoking shortly after Irma started a load of dishes.
"I could have lost my children, my husband, my life, my home, my dog everything," she says.
KitchenAid told the Jarvises there was nothing they could do because their machine was no longer under warranty.
"I was not happy when they wouldn't replace it and wouldn't own up to having a problem, wouldn't do a recall, and I told them they need to investigate it," Irma Jarvis says.
A class-action lawsuit has just been filed.
"The complaint asserts that there is a design defect in the control panel in each of these machines that causes the control panel to burn up," says Charles S. Fax, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit. "At some point, it combusts and erupts into flames."
Whirlpool, the parent company for KitchenAid and Kenmore, tells CBS 2 it has started an internal investigation into these reports. Whirlpool says product quality and consumer safety are top priorities. The company's consumer hotline is (800) 422-1230.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is also investigating. The commission encourages anyone who has had a problem like these to contact them.
3 On Your Side: Dishwasher Fires
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Some people are outraged at a major dishwasher manufacturer after reports the appliance can smoke, even catch fire, without warning.
People are reporting it from all over the country, including here.
The McFaddens still remember the day they smelled smoke in the kitchen when they weren't cooking.
Joe McFadden said, "We went over towards the dishwasher, and I saw wisps of smoke coming out of the top of it from the vents."
Inside the KitchenAid dishwasher, Joe McFadden found a circuit board scorched. "I realized just how badly it had actually fried," he said.
Eileen McFadden said, "It could have set my house on fire with my husband, my children, and my pets in it."
When Joe went online, he found similar photos and similar stories collected on KitchenAidFire.com, more than 300 reports.
One was from Dave Waller: "It was more like a blow torch, a concentrated jet of flame."
It happened to Maryellen Guditz, too. "I found flames coming out, shooting out from the top of the dishwasher and the side of the dishwasher," Guditz said.
Robert Battista of Absecon was luckier, just smoke from his circuit board. "One burn here and one burn here," said Battista, "and it produced a very strong electrical burn odor."
When Eileen and Joe contacted KitchenAid, the company said there was no safety issue and no recall.
"I don't know how they've gotten away with not having a recall," Eileen McFadden said.
A lawsuit was filed this month in California accusing KitchenAid's parent company, Whirlpool, of selling dishwashers with "defective electronic control boards that made them unreasonably dangerous."
Whirlpool didn't want to comment on the lawsuit but said in a statement, "We are investigating the reports we have received, and neither Whirlpool nor the safety agencies in the U.S. and Canada have made any determination on this issue."
Eileen and Joe were able to talk KitchenAid into giving them a new dishwasher, but they had to pay a "participation fee" of $150. Whirlpool said that's for using the dishwasher for a number of years.
To Eileen, the real insult is what the company has not done.
"I have a new dishwasher, but that doesn't change the fact that unsafe dishwashers are still out there," Eileen said.
Also named in the lawsuit is Sears, because consumers have complained about some Kenmore dishwashers. They are also made by Whirlpool. Sears told CBS 3 it does not comment on pending litigation.
Reported by Natasha Brown, CBS 3
Fire in the dishwasher -- Frederick Watchdog
Originally published January 25, 2010
By Clifford G. Cumber
A refurbished kitchen should be a homeowner's dream. Not for Steve Chambers, who moved to Frederick County from D.C. seven years ago. "All the Kitchenaid appliances have been a repair nightmare," Chambers said.
None more so than the dishwasher that could have destroyed his whole house last March, had his wife not had the presence of mind to open its door and stop the wash cycle when flames started belching out.
The Kitchenaid Superba that Chambers owned sells for about $1,000. Apparently, five to 10 minutes into a wash cycle, a circuit board caught fire.
"The dangerous thing is not that the board catches on fire or shorts out, it's that it doesn't do it in a way that trips the circuit breaker, so it keeps on going," Chamber said.
The incident led Chambers to set up a website, www.kitchenaidfire.com, to see if anyone else had encountered anything similar. They had. Others have reported fires in Kitchenaid dishwashers without the circuit breaker tripping, Chambers said. State Farm, Chambers' insurer, even took the appliance to its labs for testing, he said.
I e-mailed Kitchenaid's media for comment, but had received no response as of Thursday's deadline.
Chambers said the company "didn't seem real interested" when he reported the incident.
Maybe it's not seen as a problem. Although the reported statistics may not be huge, dishwasher fires are not uncommon. Google "dishwasher" and "fire" together, and you'll see what I mean.
The list of brands consumers have reported seems to include nearly every maker: Maytag, Kenmore, Bosch, GE. I scrolled through the list fairly quickly, but it was clear that this is more than a minor issue.
According to an August 2009 report by the National Fire Protection Association, 1,200 fires from 2003 to 2006 were caused by dishwashers. In those fires, four people were killed (civilians, not firefighters), 30 were injured (again, civilians) and $24 million in damage was caused.
The report goes on to state that of those fires, 39 percent began with ignition of the appliance housing or casing, and 28 percent with wire or cable insulation.
The biggest recent recall of dishwashers was in 2007 and involved the Maytag and JennAir brand made between July 1997 and June 2001. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission received 135 reports of fires caused by liquid leaking from the dishwasher dispenser into internal wiring, which would short and ignite. The recall covered about 2.3 million appliances.
And last January, the commission recalled 476,000 Bosch and Siemens dishwashers after 51 reports of incidents that included 30 reports of fire with property damage. An electrical component in the dishwasher can overheat.
Chambers has so far had five reports of fires in Kitchenaid dishwashers on his site, and he thinks more incidents may be out there. Chambers' website is small, and not well-known. Because of how Google ranks websites, it does not come up very high in search results and Chambers believes it may be a while before affected consumers find his website.
The five reports lead Chambers to conclude the fires are predictable -- around the seventh year of the appliance life span.
In all cases, the fires were extinguished with only the appliance itself as a casualty. For Karin Peterson, of Littleton, Colo., it was a stroke of luck she was in the kitchen at the time.
"Any other evening, we would have been in bed at that time (we always start the dishwasher right before we go to bed) and the consequences could have been disastrous," Peterson wrote on Chambers' website.
Peterson said the dishwasher had worked well right up to the fire, with no indication of anything wrong.
Chambers worries that something much worse could happen. Maybe it's time for another recall.
Cliff Cumber is an assistant city editor at The Frederick News-Post. Frederick Watchdog can be contacted by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or following on Twitter at twitter.com/FNPwatchdog.
Whirlpool US Dishwasher Fire Class Action
Whirlpool has been placed in the media spotlight in the USA due to Kitchen Aid dishwasher models have been seen to go on fire with owners launching a class action.
Whirlpool is the latest appliance manufacturer to find it'self a victim of a fire hazard due to it's appliances with Samsung, Bosch, Beko and others recewntly having had applainces which posed a potential risk of fire. The dishwasher models, which have not yet been subject to a recall and we are unaware of any UK or EU models that may be affected, seem to be the latest in a long line of poor design choices putting people at risk. All appear to have one thing in common however, they tend to be lower end products.
One quote on this particular case has been that, :The devestating defect in the control board creates a substantial and unreasonable risk of propert, injury and death"
Alert: Whirlpool Dishwasher Fires Lead to Class Action Lawsuit
November 18th, 2011. By AbiK
A class action lawsuit is always news around here, but a lawsuit that arises from a multitude of consumers complaining about fires erupting from their Whirlpool dishwashers is cause for an APB. So please pass this along for everyone's safety.Whirlpool Logo stainless Alert: Whirlpool Dishwasher Fires Lead to Class Action Lawsuit
A class action lawsuit has been filed in California alleging that Whirlpool (manufacturer of Whirlpool, KitchenAid and Sears Kenmore dishwashers) knew of a product defect in their dishwashers but hid that information from the public.
According to a grassroots consumer complaint website (kitchenaidfire.com), Whirlpool dishwasher owners report that the fires appear to have started in the machines' control circuit boards. The video from WPRI.com above shows where the dishwasher fire originated for one owner.