Preliminary approved settlement in Sunbeam class action

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Aug. 22, 2007, 9:57am

TEXARKANA, Ark. – Arkansas Circuit Court Judge Jim Hudson has granted a preliminary settlement order in the Sunbeam lawsuit.

Plaintiffs' attorney John Goodson, filed the original complaint against Sunbeam Products, Inc. on December 30, 2004. Plaintiffs stated that the defendants "designed, manufactured, sold, and distributed" heating blankets and pads with defects. Plaintiffs allege that the pads and blankets "will fail rendering them unusable and likely to ignite fires.

According to the lawsuit, as many as 30 million products were sold with defects. The suit asserted Sunbeam committed fraud and neglect in failing to warn consumers regarding the defects.

Taking it to the Arkansas Supreme Court, Sunbeam defendants appealed Judge Jim Hudson's previously denied motions and his certification of a nation-wide class. However, prior to an unfavorable ruling for either party, a resolution was reached. The parties filed a Joint Motion to stay appeal and reinvest jurisdiction in the Arkansas Miller County Circuit Court, which was granted by the Arkansas Supreme Court on June 14.

The preliminary settlement approval order signed on August 14, by Judge Hudson, provides for notification for potential class members. Sunbeam, through Administrator Garden City Group, will send direct mail notifications and will provide a notice in Parade Magazine and USA Today to reach potential class members.

Products involved in the suit include any electrically heated blankets, mattress pads, and blankets with a C100 safety circuit. Class members alleging personal injury or property damage are not included in this settlement. The deadline to opt out or file an objection is November 22.
A fairness hearing is set for December 17.

Sunbeam continues to deny their products are unsafe.

Case No. 2004-407-2

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