Consumer class-action lawsuits against Sears and Whirlpool over stinky washing machines can continue.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the companies’ appeals aimed at blocking the class-action suits because, they contended, only a small percentage of consumers were affected.

The consumers say their front-loading washers didn’t clean themselves adequately, causing foul odors.

The Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from Whirlpool in a case filed by Ohio customers, and from Sears Holdings Corp. in a suit by consumers in six states over Whirlpool-made machines. The court also rejected a similar appeal by a unit of BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeraete GmbH over its washers, Bloomberg reported.

The rebuff is a setback for business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that backed the appeals. The groups sought to build on Supreme Court victories they won in 2011 in a case involving Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and last year in a case concerning Comcast Corp.

Sears said the appeals court decision in the retailer’s case “opens the door to class actions based on any mass-produced product’s failure to meet expectations of a handful of consumers, no matter how few other buyers had the same problem.”

via Bloomberg

rest at http://voices.suntimes.com/business-2/next-cycle-sears-whirlpool-moldy-washer-cases-to-go-on/

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