Mayer Brown, Whirlpool Representative: Sears and Whirlpool Appeal Most Massive
Class Certifications on Record -- Stakes for American Manufacturing Massive
CHICAGO, Oct. 7, 2013
CHICAGO, Oct. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sears, Roebuck & Company and Whirlpool
Corporation today filed back-to-back petitions for writ of certiorari with the
Supreme Court.The two companies asked the Court to review class
certifications in nearly identical cases involving Whirlpool-made washing
machines: Sears v. Butler (from the 7^th Circuit) and Whirlpool v. Glazer (a
6^th Circuit case).
Each certification involved complaints of front-loading washers developing a
musty scent. Judge Richard Posner wrote the 7^th Circuit's decision in Butler.
The High Court has twice ruled (2011 in Wal-Mart v. Dukes; this year in
Comcast v. Behrend) that, as a condition of class certification, a lower
court's "rigorous analysis" of facts must demonstrate that a single matter
predominates over all other issues in the lawsuit.The lower courts' findings
in both Butler and Glazer effectively took issue with these recent rulings.
"These petitions raise issues that are hugely important to U.S. industry,"
said Stephen G. Morrison, consultant to Whirlpool and partner in Nelson
Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. "Manufacturers and retailers are under siege
from bloated class actions that go far beyond what the Federal Rules and
recent Supreme Court precedent authorize."
The lower courts have also embraced a highly expansive standard of liability.
The 6^th Circuit held that if even a small proportion of units of a
manufactured product include a defect, all purchasers of the product may be
included in a class action.All may receive compensation, whether the unit
purchased was defective or not.
The Supreme Court granted cert and vacated lower court decisions in both cases
earlier this year. The Court remanded the cases to the circuit courts for
reconsideration in light of the Court's March 27^th Comcast v. Behrend
decision.Comcast tightened class certification standards. If Butler and
Glazer go to trial, the classes will be the most expansive in judicial
"The Supreme Court previously asked the courts of appeals to take another
close look at these cases, but the lower courts failed to get the message,"
said Mr. Morrison. "We hope the Court will grant certiorari again. Some lower
courts need to understand that unwieldy classes that hide vast differences
among the claims and are full of people who didn't experience the supposed
problem cannot be certified."
Mayer Brown is a leading global law firm with offices in key business centers
across the Americas, Asia and Europe.
SOURCE Mayer Brown
Contact: Mike Burita, firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.420.9361
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