Carrie Salls Jul. 20, 2016, 9:51am


PHILADELPHIA – A class action lawsuit filed June 30 against Samsung in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania centers on an alleged defect that attorneys believe has affected hundreds of thousands of people nationwide.

 “This concerns a defective drain pump (that) causes leaks and that can explode, causing damages,” Greg Coleman, founder and managing partner of Greg Coleman Law PC, told the Pennsylvania Record.

The lawsuit, filed by lead plaintiff Rose Wagner of Downingtown, alleges breach of implied warranty, design defect, failure to warn, negligence and product liability. Wagner alleged in her complaint that Samsung knew the washing machines it manufactured were defective, but that the company sold them to customers anyway.

Wagner said a washing machine she bought in 2015 caused roughly $25,000 of damage to her home, stemming from a leak that rendered the machine unusable without substantial repairs, including replacement of the pump and realignment. Wagner alleges the damage also prevented her washing machine from spinning and draining water.

Coleman said Wagner’s is not the only case of its kind. Greg Coleman Law and Berger & Montague are two of three firms representing the class in the Wagner lawsuit.

“There are some other cases, but no way to tell if they will be consolidated at this point,” Coleman said.

Michael Fantini, of Berger & Montague, said his firm is aware of one other lawsuit filed against Samsung earlier this year in connection with allegations of damage caused by exploding washing machines, but he could not say whether that case and any others like it will be consolidated with the Wagner class action.

“We make similar allegations of fact,” Fantini told the Pennsylvania Record. “It may be similar in nature to the others.”

According to Wagner’s lawsuit, Samsung started receiving complaints in 2011 that some models of its top-loading washing machines had serious defects, but the company did not stop selling the machines or issue a recall.

“Samsung received high numbers of consumer complaints related to models within its WA400 and WA500-series washing machines for problems with their spin cycles, high vibrations, breaking springs and even ‘explosions’ related to the washing machines’ spin cycles,” the lawsuit said.

The plaintiffs in the Wagner class action allege that the design of the machines is defective because the position and location of the drain pump causes high-stress concentrations that result in fracturing and separation of the drain pump assembly’s motor housing from its mounting base. The suit also alleges that Samsung made errors in the manufacturing process or workmanship.

The complaint alleges that the machines’ highly touted digital inverter motor, which allows the machines to spin at high speeds, and the machines’ wash motor parts “are simply too powerful for the materials selected for use in the rest of the washing machines,” including the pump assembly. 

The complaint alleges that the defect in the machines can cause significant water leakage and washing machine explosions, potentially resulting in property damage and personal injury.

“We believe that this has affected a large number of people across the country,” Fantini said.

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