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Sears Settles Class Action Suit

2/21/2008 12:31:00 PM Eastern

Madison County, Ill. — Sears has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit covering the improper installation of freestanding gas and electric ranges in nearly 4 million homes over the past seven years.

The suit alleged that Sears failed to install anti-tip brackets on the slide-in ranges — or charged customers to do so if asked — resulting in the death or injury of over 100 customers after the weight of open oven doors or drawers tipped the appliances over. Manufacturers included the brackets with the ranges in accordance with Underwriter’s Laboratory standards.

Sears admitted no wrongdoing, but has agreed to install the brackets, reimburse owners who had them installed themselves, or provide them with $50 gift cards good toward the purchase of a new range. The retailer also agreed to mount the brackets with all freestanding range installations for the next three years.

The cost to Sears could exceed half a billion dollars if all eligible households participate.

The four-year-old suit was settled last month in a Circuit Court here.

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