Faulty Samsung Fridge Suit Has Some Juice Left

     (CN) – A class of consumers can amend claimed that Samsung knowingly sold them defective refrigerators that stopped cooling, a federal judge ruled.
     Jeff Weske had led the original 2010 class action that accused Samsung of knowingly selling refrigerators with a circuit board defect that would eventually cause coils to freeze over and stop the fridge from cooling.
     “The defective refrigerators do not perform their essential function of keeping food cool, rendering the refrigerators useless or of significantly diminished value long before the end of their reasonably expected useful life,” the New Jersey-filed complaint stated.
     Samsung moved to dismiss the complaint, which has been amended twice so far, and U.S. District Judge William Martini complied on March 19.
     There is not enough evidence to show Samsung knew about the defect before the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit, according to the ruling
     “Besides from referencing a single customer service hotline attendant, the SAC [Second Amended Complaint] does not identify who at Samsung learned about the customer complaints,” Martini wrote. “Nor does the SAC provide facts suggesting fraudulent concealment beginning in 2006. Ultimately, plaintiffs’ allegation that Samsung discovered the defect in 2006 is based on just two confirmed customer complaints and two unconfirmed reports posted on internet websites. ‘Awareness of a few customer complaints … does not establish knowledge of an alleged defect.'”
     Martini dismissed the class’s claims for fraudulent inducement, violation of consumer protection laws and breach of warranty under Minnesota law, but he preserved the warranty count under Ohio law.
     “Jo Anna Frager, the named plaintiff from Ohio, is an ordinary consumer who lacks privity with Samsung,” the judge wrote. “Under Ohio law, there is a ‘general rule [that] ‘a plaintiff who has suffered only economic loss due to another’s negligence has not been injured in a manner which is legally cognizable or compensable.” But the rule does not apply to ”ordinary consumers’ who lack privity with a product’s manufacturer.’ Accordingly, the economic loss doctrine does not bar plaintiffs’ claim for tortious breach of implied warranty under Ohio law.”
     The court also found it premature to strike the class allegations.
     Martini gave the plaintiffs 30 days to amend their complaint.

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