By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON, June 3 The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down an appeals court ruling that favored consumers who bought Sears Roebuck and Co front-loading washing machines.
The lawsuit claimed Kenmore-brand high-efficiency washers, manufactured for the Sears Holding Co subsidiary by Whirlpool Corp, were defective because they emitted unpleasant odors and would sometimes unexpectedly stop during use.
The case is almost identical to a class action, involving the same lawyers on both sides, that came before the court earlier this year. The court also sent that case, which was against Whirlpool, back to the appeals court for reconsideration.
In both cases, the Supreme Court said the appeals courts had to take a second look at the issue in light of a Supreme Court ruling in March in favor of Comcast Corp in a class action based on claims over how much the cable company charged a group of subscribers.
The legal issue is whether the individual claims are sufficiently similar to warrant class action certification, meaning that they can all be heard together in one case.
The case is Sears v. Butler, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-1067.
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