Settlement Valued at up to $100 Million for Millions of U.S. Consumers
BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 14, 2016 – Prominent Maryland law firm Rifkin Weiner Livingston LLC (RWL), co-lead counsel, joined other firms in reaching a settlement of a landmark class action suit involving Whirlpool-manufactured dishwashers, approved by the Los Angeles federal court on October 11, 2016. The settlement could affect up to 20% of the U.S. population, covering consumers’ repairs for the dishwasher models involved in the suit, rebates for buying new models, and additional safety protections. The settlement could be worth $100 million.
Charles S. Fax, a partner at RWL with extensive experience in complex civil litigation including class actions, was co-lead counsel in the case. Liesel Schopler from RWL also served as counsel for the plaintiffs.
The court’s opinion approving the settlement, and awarding Fax’s firm and the other plaintiffs’ counsel almost $15 million in attorneys’ fees, was highly complimentary of their efforts. Wrote Judge Fernando Olguin: “The results obtained by class counsel are impressive. Achieving these results undoubtedly took a high level of skill on the part of counsel whom the court has already described as ‘among the most capable and experienced lawyers in the country in these kind of cases.'”
Fax commented, “We’re very happy to settle this case on behalf of millions of U.S. dishwasher owners, and we are delighted with the results. Judge Olguin’s acknowledgement of our efforts is also heartening.”
The case was filed by 18 owners of Kenmore, KitchenAid or Whirlpool dishwashers purchased between 2002 and 2007, who complained that their machines had a defective circuit board that could start a fire. The case initially covered 11 states, but the five law firms representing plaintiffs eventually reached a nationwide settlement with the defendants. The legal fees sought by plaintiffs’ counsel, however, were hotly contested.
Alan Rifkin, Managing Partner of RWL, added, “We’re pleased and gratified by the court’s decision. It benefits consumers across the country.”
Rifkin Weiner Livingston LLC is one of Maryland’s leading law firms. With offices located in Baltimore, Annapolis and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, the firm provides an important link to the state’s principal business, commercial and governmental centers.