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Class Sues Major Makers Of Smoke Detectors

•  Legal Spotlight     updated  2008/06/10 08:30

"Ionization only" smoke detectors do not warn of smoldering fires, and three of the largest makers of the devices fail to warn consumers that similarly priced photoelectric detectors can do that, a class action claims in Federal Court.

The defendants are BRK Brands, First Alert, Invensys Controls, and United Technologies Corp. dba Kidde Residential and Commercial Division.

The complaint states: "Defendants, three of the largest manufacturers of ionization smoke detectors sold in the United States, fail to adequately warn consumers of this dangerous limitation of 'ionization-only' devices even though almost 90% of all stand-alone smoke detectors sold in the United States use this detection technology. When consumers purchase stand-alone smoke detectors, Defendants fail to adequately advise consumers that alternative 'photoelectric' devices provide earlier warning - typically by hours - against the most dangerous fires, that the devices are priced similarly to 'ionization-only' devices, and that 'ionization-only' devices should not be used alone in any homes. By reason of Defendants' wrongful conduct, millions of American homeowners have purchased fire-alarm systems, not knowing that their purchase inadequately protects their homes and families against deadly fire."

Plaintiffs seek statutory damages, replacement devices, disgorgement of profits, warnings sent to all class members, and fees and costs. They are represented by Thomas Sobol with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro of Cambridge.

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