What legal actions can consumers take when products prove defective and dangerous?
Consumers reeling from the possibility that their new Samsung phone might explode in their pockets now have a new concern—that the top of their Samsung washing machine might fly off.
Massive Recall of Washing Machines Sold in the United States
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced that the company will be recalling 2.8 machines, covering 34 different models sold since 2011. There have been 700 reported incidents involving the machines, including one report of a broken jaw. According to the CPSC, accidents and injuries are most likely when the machines are in the high-speed spin cycle.
New Class Action Litigation Raises Questions About Samsung’s Knowledge of Dangers
Appliance owners have begun to bring lawsuits over the problem. In one class action lawsuit suit filed in New Jersey, consumers allege that the washing machines exploded suddenly. One plaintiff described feeling as if “a bomb went off.” The lawsuit includes photographs and videos of damaged machines with their tops displaced.
The class-action suit also makes allegations about whether Samsung responded quickly enough when it learned about problems with the machines. The plaintiffs claim that Samsung knew of the risks as far back as October 24, 2013, when a woman was injured by a self-destructing machine.
While the recall does not affect washing machines sold outside North America, in 2013, Samsung recalled 150,000 machines in Australia because of multiple reports of house fires.
Samsung Seeks Dismissal of Case, Hopes to Block Certification of Class
Samsung has sought a dismissal of the case, claiming that the plaintiffs’ claims are neither “viable” nor suitable for certification as a class action. A spokesman for Samsung Electronics America, which is based in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, says it is trying to minimize disruption for owners of the machines. Options include repairs, rebates and refunds.
When it responded to complaints about its exploding smartphones by sending out replacement phones that also were prone to explosion, Samsung may have made a bad problem worse. It remains to be seen whether its strategy for its home appliances is more effective.
Lawsuits Over Defective or Dangerous Products Require Special Legal Expertise
If you have been injured by a defective or dangerous or product, you may be eligible to bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer and others involved in the distribution and sale of the product. These lawsuits involve different laws and rules than those applicable in ordinary personal injury suits. An attorney experienced in personal injury and product liability law can advise you on whether you have a strong claim and whether you could be part of a class action lawsuit.