Cases accusing a Pennsylvania cookware company of selling pots and pans that turn dangerously sharp after trips through the dishwasher will be grouped together in a Pittsburgh federal court, where a judge brought together four cases Thursday.
U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan will oversee the multidistrict litigation against Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based All-Clad Metalcrafters LLC after proposed class actions in California, Florida, Georgia and Massachusetts each accused the cookware company of selling products with aluminum layers that allegedly erode in a dishwasher, exposing razor-sharp layers of steel.
The underlying suits claimed that All-Clad had falsely marketed its pans as “dishwasher safe,” but putting them through a dishwasher corrodes the aluminum layers of the pans and leaves thin, sharp steel edges exposed.
In the Georgia suit, plaintiff Miranda Murray said she cut herself on the edge left on one All-Clad pan after a year of dishwasher use, while other pans from the same set that she had consistently hand-washed did not develop an edge.
The plaintiffs, who shared many of the same attorneys across all four states, had initially opposed a multidistrict litigation because of the relatively few cases involved, but the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation said the chance of split rulings on matters like scientific evidence justified centralizing the cases in All-Clad’s home district.
“The pendency of four highly similar statewide class actions in districts across the country raises the cost of litigating common questions and poses the risk of inconsistent rulings in discovery disputes and any Daubert challenges, on which the litigation may turn,” the panel wrote April 16 in its order to centralize the cases in Pittsburgh. “The Western District of Pennsylvania is where All-Clad has been based since 1971. Documents and witnesses relevant to plaintiffs’ claims likely will be found there.”