A class action lawsuit has been filed against Sears and other manufacturers of lawn mowers, alleging that they, for decades, fraudulently sold lawn mowers with labels indicating the engines produce a higher horsepower than they actually do. The horsepower of a lawnmower is critical to its performance. One alleged deception involves stating the horsepower of the lawnmower as its gross horsepower, which is a theoretical maximum horsepower, not the more accurate net horsepower.
Additionally, the suit claims that the defendants were involved in a broad conspiracy which included influencing the adoption of labeling requirements that would ensure the alleged fraud could not be discovered.
Further, a "Power Labeling Task Force" was formed by the defendants who subsequently conspired to have the labeling standards changed that had already been set by the Society of Automotive Engineers. This resulted in the defendants creating a 'fudge factor' of up to 15 percent higher horsepower ratings on the labels of their lawnmowers.
The class action, which has not yet been certified, was filed on October 16 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. If it is certified, millions of Americans who purchased lawn mowers between 1994 and the present day could join the case.
The defendants named in the suit are: Sears, Toro, Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Deere & Company, Tecumseh Products Company, Platinum Equity LLC, Kawasaki Motors Corp., MTD Products Inc., Electrolux Home Products Inc., Husqvarna Professional Outdoor Products Inc. and Kohler Co.