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Samsung Files Motion to Consolidate Washer Lawsuits in Oklahoma

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At least 24 plaintiffs have filed Samsung washing machine lawsuits in various courts across the country. The plaintiffs claim that the machines are defective and dangerous, and in some cases, may actually explode, potentially injuring anyone standing nearby.

Samsung implemented a recall of about 2.8 million top-loading washing machines back in November 2016. The company said at the time that they had received over 700 reports of the top of the machines detaching unexpectedly during use, posing a risk of injury from impact.

Now, the manufacturer has filed a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) seeking consolidation of all federally filed Samsung washer lawsuits into one court for pre-trial proceedings. They noted that the cases all have common questions of fact and raise substantially similar allegations and claims, that that consolidation would “promote the just and efficient conduct of such actions.”

Samsung Promises Remedies, but Consumers Unhappy

Samsung recalled 34 models of their top-loading washing machines after receiving 733 reports of problems, including excessive vibration and/or the top detaching from the machine. Nine of those reports stated that there were related injuries, including a broken jaw, injured shoulder, and other impact or fall-related injuries.

Samsung directed consumers to contact the company to receive one of three remedy options:

  1. free in-home repair of the machine to reinforce the washer’s top and a free-one-year extension of the manufacturer’s warranty,
  2. a rebate to be applied toward a new Samsun washer, along with free installation,
  3. a full refund, but only for consumers who purchased the machine within 30 days of the recall announcement

Yet some consumers have found difficulties in trying to obtain these remedies. In a report by Today, some consumers stated that the company was not responsive to requests for repairs and that even when the machines were fixed, technicians applied new stickers to change the settings for the loads. It was reported that post-repair, bedding had to be washed on the delicate cycle, for instance, which doesn’t get the items as clean as the original setting. In other words, the repair leaves them with a machine that no longer has the features homeowners paid for.

Some consumers have also complained that the “remedies” offered force them to give Samsung even more money. If they choose the rebate option, they often have to spend more money for a new Samsung washer, which seems to be rewarding the company for putting out an allegedly defective product.

Samsung Washer Class Action Cases

The motion to transfer involves 24 cases that are already pending in federal court, but there may be more. The manufacturers noted that consolidation will prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and suggested the Western District of Oklahoma as the best venue since most of the cases are already pending there.