Jury Questions Whirlpool's Steam Claims

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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 dryers."

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."


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