No decision yet in Sears washing machine class action

Amelia Flood Feb. 1, 2011, 4:46am


Although a case management conference is now set in a class action brought against Sears Roebuck & Co., there is still no decision months after a September hearing on whether Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla will stay or even dismiss the case.

Lead plaintiff Therese Dalla Riva seeks to lead a class of Illinois customers who bought Kenmore Elite Oasis washing machines that had allegedly defective control boards.

The Madison County suit is nearly identical to one pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by lead plaintiff Renee Tietsworth.

Dalla Riva's suit alleges that the washing machines had the potential to explode, a claim thrown out of Tietsworth case.

Sears' attorney Michael Williams dismissed arguments by plaintiff's counsel Lori Andrus and Mark Goldenberg about the merits of the Illinois suit.

"You've got some lawyers calling the shots and they didn't get what they wanted there so they've come here because they want a second shot here," Williams said in the September 2010 arguments.

Andrus and Goldenberg countered that there was enough at issue to keep the Dalla Riva suit going.

Sears argued for a dismissal or, barring that, a stay until the resolution of the Tietsworth suit.

Hylla took the matter under advisement.

A case management conference is now set for Feb. 23 at 9:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, in the Tietsworth case, there has been no action in the as-yet uncertified class action since November 2010.

The last action in the case was the entry of an initial case management order by U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel that governs that case's progress until a certification hearing set in September.

Andrus is from the San Francisco firm of Andrus Anderson LLP.

Williams is from the Denver firm of Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP.

Stephen Strauss of Bryan Cave LLP of St. Louis also represents Sears.

The case Dalla Riva class action is Madison case number 10-L-203.

The Tietsworth class action pending in the Northern District Court
of California is federal case number CV-09-288-JF/HRL.

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