Electrolux Instructions are Flawed, Class Action Alleges
Electrolux Home Products Inc. is facing at least two product liability class action lawsuits involving its over-the-range microwave ovens. Plaintiffs in the litigation allege that hot microwave handles caused burn injuries. The microwave ovens named in the class action lawsuits are meant to be installed above a working stovetop. One lawsuit says faulty instructions tell consumers to install the microwaves much too close to the stovetop, while the other says the stainless steel material of the handles far exceeds temperature standards set by safety organizations.
The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits over allegedly defective or dangerous consumer products. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a lawsuit.
In February 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed in Pennsylvania federal court over Electrolux over-the-range microwave ovens. The plaintiff purchased her microwave in October 2013 and, according to the complaint, had it installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. She alleges that, while cooking on her stove, she burned her hand when reaching for the microwave handle. The plaintiff called Electrolux customer service to complain about her burn injury. A customer service representative was sent to her home to inspect the microwave.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was told that the microwave was installed too close to the stovetop; the bottom of the microwave should be a minimum of 30 inches away from the stovetop, the representative said. The plaintiff alleges that this contradicts the manufacturer’s instructions, which state that the top of the microwave (not the bottom) should be at least 30 inches from the stovetop. The plaintiff alleges that the faulty instructions caused her microwave to be installed much closer to the stovetop.
The complaint states that the plaintiff has measured the temperature of the microwave oven handle after boiling a pot of water on the stove. She alleges that the handle reaches temperatures over 168 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to burn human skin, the suit alleges. The plaintiff says industry standards tell consumers to avoid surfaces exceeding 158 degrees. Therefore, the lawsuit alleges, the microwave handles present a safety risk.
The microwave therefore contains a defect that is “unreasonably dangerous, as it can result, and has resulted, in injury … including burns to the skin”, the suit states. According to the complaint, Electrolux is aware of the issue but has not recalled the microwave or reimbursed customers who requested a refund.
Class Action Alleges Stainless Steel Handles Get Too Hot
Parker Waichman notes that another class action lawsuit was filed over Electrolux microwave ovens in October, alleging burning handles. As with the Pennsylvania class action, the more recent lawsuit alleges that the temperature of the microwave handles exceeds safety limits. The plaintiff, who filed the suit in Baltimore, Maryland, alleges that the safety issue stems from the 400 grade stainless steel handles.
The plaintiff cites guidelines published by Underwriters Laboratories, a safety group, stating that a bare or painted metal handle should not get hotter than 121 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the lawsuit, the Electrolux microwave oven handles can reach temperatures of 168 degrees Fahrenheit.
The plaintiff also points to a copy of manufacturer instructions, which show a schematic diagram that instruct at least 30 inches of space between the stovetop and the top of the microwave. The diagram includes the notation “Bottom edge of cabinet MUST be 30” min. from cooking surface.”
Product liability lawsuits are filed when a product is allegedly defective. Manufacturers are inherently responsible if their products cause injuries to the consumer, as the law requires the product to meet ordinary expectations. A product fails to meet ordinary standards if it is defective or dangerous. Plaintiffs in a product liability lawsuit can allege different types of defects, including design defects, manufacturing defects and marketing defects. A design defect is when the product is inherently unsafe. The problem stems from the design, and it is therefore defective even before it is made. A manufacturing defect is when the product becomes defective during manufacture or assembly. Consumers sue over marketing defects when there are problems with the way a product is advertised. Examples may include improper labeling, inadequate instructions or failure to warn about safety issues.
Contact Product Liability Attorneys at Parker Waichman
If you or someone you know was injured by a defective or dangerous product, you may have valuable legal rights. The consumer safety attorneys at Parker Waichman offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).