Won a defense jury verdict as co-trial counsel in a $66 million federal certified class action in Ohio involving allegedly "moldy" washing machines.
A federal jury in Ohio completely rejected claims that Whirlpool front-loading washing machines were defective in design and prone to excessive mold growth and foul odors. Following a three-week trial, WTO and Bartlit Beck lawyers won a complete defense jury verdict for Whirlpool in the certified class action trial. The class included more than 150,000 members who alleged defects in 20 different models of washing machines built between 2001 and 2009. At trial, the plaintiffs sought more than $66 million in damages. The jury decision found Whirlpool not liable on all of the claims.
The case, Glazer v. Whirlpool, is the bellwether trial in a multidistrict litigation proceeding. Whirlpool repeatedly challenged class certification, observing that the majority of class members did not in fact experience mold or odor problems and that the wide array of washer models were too different from one another to be tried together as a class. WTO's pretrial motions and briefs successfully narrowed the case to just two tort counts before trial.
WTO lawyers led the trial preparations ever since the case was first filed in 2008. Although few consumer class actions actually proceed to trial, WTO's team prepared from day one as though this one would, which made all the difference in Whirlpool's readiness to try the case and led to the victory for Whirlpool. In a statement, Whirlpool's Chief Litigation Counsel, Eric Sharon, said, "While other companies might have opted to settle this case out of court, Whirlpool firmly believed in the rule of law and that the facts were in our corner."
Partner Michael Williams led WTO's efforts, with key support from team members Joel Neckers, Galen Bellamy, Allison McLaughlin, Theresa Wardon, and Andrew W. Myers.