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Jury Questions Whirlpool’s Steam Claims

Chicago – A
federal court here found Whirlpool guilty of deceptive trade practices under
Illinois law, but would not award damages to the plaintiff, LG Electronics.

LG brought the
case in January 2008, charging that Whirlpool’s Duet, Cabrio and Maytag Bravo
steam dryers do not use or produce actual steam. Rather, they spray cold water
into a heated drum to produce an evaporation mist, LG argued, unlike to its own
dryers that employ a steam generator.

The jury found that
Whirlpool violated the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act but broke
no federal laws, and denied LG’s request for $84.5 million in damages.

The court will
next determine what actions, if any, to take against Whirlpool.

LG Electronics
president James Shad said the verdict “reaffirms LG’s commitment to develop and
produce the most technologically innovative laundry machines on the market.”

But in a letter to
dealers, Whirlpool U.S. sales VP Sam Abdelnour described the verdict as a
victory for Whirlpool.

The court, he
wrote, “unanimously rejected LG’s claims that Whirlpool violated federal false
advertising law and state consumer fraud law in the way it advertised its steam

He added, “No
remedy would be appropriate based on the jury’s clear finding that LG was not
harmed as a result of any conduct by Whirlpool, and that Whirlpool did not
violate federal false advertising laws or the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.”