Sears slide-in range owners seeking class certification

Steve Gonzalez Feb. 16, 2007, 1:39am

St. Louis class action lawyer Stephen Tillery has discovered another cause to champion.

Tillery has asked Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron to certify a class action suit against Sears Roebuck over free-standing or slide-in gas or electric ranges.

Tillery wants Byron to certify a nationwide class for people who purchased the ranges which Sears delivered and set up without installing an "anti-tipping" safety device from Sept. 11, 1999, until the date of certification.

The plaintiffs, Charles and Annemarie Parker and Joyce and David Sumpter, allege the ranges they purchased from Sears were not installed properly.

They aren't claiming injuiries, rather they claim Sears breached warranty by not installing "anti-tip brackets," which put them in danger.

The class wants $60-125 to have the brackets installed.

Persons excluded from the proposed class will be people who purchased ranges in Louisiana and all claims against Sears for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death.

Also excluded will be Sears' employees and their family members, all judges who have ever had authority over this case and their immediate families, and the families of the lawyers handling the case.

Tillery wants to be certified as class counsel along with Daniel Sciano of San Antonio and Blake Beckham of Dallas.

Tillery told Byron that there are so many class members that joinder of all members is impracticable, questions of fact or law are common to the class, the named plaintiffs will adequately protect the interests of the class and that a class action is an appropriate method for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy.

He also told Byron that the members of the class can be easily identified using Sears computer databases.

According to Tillery, Sears sells 800,000 ranges per year. Byron has taken the case under advisement.

Sears is represented by Larry Hepler of Edwardsville.

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