Insurer Wants no Part of Toothbrush Suits

     BOSTON (CN) – An insurer wants a federal judge to find that it does not need to defend electronics giant Philips against a class action claiming that its toothbrushes lose the ability to vibrate.
     National Insurance Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh filed the declaratory judgment lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
     Philips Electronics NA had allegedly filed a claim with National after it was slapped this past March with a federal class action in Seattle over toothbrushes that its subsidiaries sell in the United States. Two similar complaints followed in the same court, according to Courthouse News records.
     National says it has no duty to defend or indemnify the Andover, Mass.-based company.
     The class action alleges that a defect in Philips toothbrushes “manifests itself over time and causes the devices to lose their ability to transmit vibrations to the brush and operate properly,” National says. “The class action complaint further alleges that the Philips Defendants sold replacement brush heads to correct the defect despite the inability of the replacement brush heads to correct the defect.”
     Since the class has not alleged “property damage” or “bodily injury,” however, National should not have to provide a defense, according to the complaint.
     Incorporated in Pennsylvania with offices in Manhattan, National is represented by Joshua Walls of Wiggin and Dana in Stamford, Conn.

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