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Viking socked with $4.65 Million Product Safety Penalty

Thursday, April 13, 2017, 6:50 pm News Flash Archive

Viking Range was hit last Tuesday with a penalty of $4.65 million levied by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for Viking's failure to promptly report to the CPSC a dangerous defect in the stoves Viking manufactures at its Greenwood, Mississippi plant. Viking entered into a settlement agreement but did not admit that it had violated federal law or failed to timely file the required notices.

According to the settlement document, Viking received 170 consumer complaints about stoves that could not be turned off, or would turn themselves back on, resulting in the possibility of dangerous burns to the users. These complaints began in 2008. The settlement agreement may be seen here: Viking / CPSC Settlement Agreement

At the end of 2012, Viking founder Fred Carl Jr. and the other owners of Viking Range sold the company to Middleby Corporation. In July 2014, Middleby informed the CPSC of the defect, and in mid 2015, voluntarily recalled 52,000 stoves due to the fire hazard.

On October 28, 2015, Middleby sued Fred Carl, Brian Waldrop, Ron Ussery, and 46 other shareholders who had sold Viking to Middleby. Middleby asked for $100 Million in damages, claiming that the former owners had known of the defect, along with the poor service record of the Viking products, but had not properly informed Middleby of them. Middleby claimed that the price of the company had thereby been inflated by failure to disclose this derogatory information about Viking's manufacturing quality.

The Middleby complaint against the former owners may be seen here: Middleby v. Carl et al.

Carl and the other sellers denied the charges made against them by Middleby.

In the settlement agreement with the CPSC, Middleby/Viking reserve the right to recover monetary damages from Carl and the former owners of Viking through their lawsuit against them.

That lawsuit has dragged on for over a year, with most of 2016 spent in the discovery process. The case has now been scheduled for trial beginning April 23, 2018 before Judge Paul R. Wallace in the Superior Court of New Castle County, Delaware.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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