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Class Action Against Panasonic on Plasma Displays

Fischer Goldasich & Aughtman announced that a class action lawsuit was filed against Panasonic by Shane Robert Hughes in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (February 12, 2010, docket number 2:10-CV-00846).

According to the statement, it is alleged that Panasonic Consumer Electronics and Panasonic Corporation of North America defectively designed its Viera plasma television sets such that the units’ black level rises and contrast deteriorates causing a loss of display detail, tone and clarity. The lawsuit also alleges that the TVs suffer from inordinate image retention.

The statement goes on to say that Panasonic officials have acknowledged that the black level of certain plasma televisions do rise over time as a result of pre-programmed voltage adjustments and that the 2009 model adjustments were “fairly coarse.” Further, Panasonic asserts that the adjustments are necessary to maintain overall image quality over the life of the televisions and stated that the voltage adjustments and brightness increase are part of the design of the sets and that the brightness increase is not a significant factor in the sets’ overall quality.

The suit alleges that Panasonic marketed its 2008/2009 plasma TVs by promoting the superior black and contrast levels of the sets and that the company’s failure to inform consumers of the expected change in display appearance (prior to purchase) violates consumer fraud statutes and constitutes a breach of warranty.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Richard Golomb, likens the scenario to buying a car for its fuel efficiency, only to learn that “after a year of driving your mpg goes from 25 to 17.”

Mr. Hughes is represented in this matter by Joseph “Jay” H. Aughtman and Erby Fischer, Fischer Goldasich & Aughtman (Birmingham, AL) and Richard Golomb, Golomb & Honik, P.C. (Philadelphia, PA).

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