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Chainsaw Blades Won’t Stop, Recall Insufficient, Suit Says

Aug. 16, 2018, 3:28 PM

Harbor Freight Tools was hit with a proposed class suit over recalled chainsaws that don’t shut off.

A malfunctioning power switch allows the chainsaw blade to keep operating even after a user moves it to the “off,” position, George Olmos and Franklin Caraballo say in a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Harbor Freight admitted the Portland, One Stop Gardens, and Chicago Electric 14-inch saws are defective and recalled the products in May because of the risk of serious injury, according to the complaint.

Harbor Freight estimated it sold well over 1 million defective saws, the plaintiffs say.

But the recall wasn’t enough, the complaint says. The recall notice was only briefly publicized, and replacement units can only be picked up in-person at a Harbor Freight store. Consumers who comply with recall instructions are coming away empty-handed and reporting difficulty getting replacements, the complaint alleges.

Olmos and Caraballo seek to represent a nationwide class and a California subclass of people who bought the saws. They seek money damages and an order directing Harbor Freight to notify consumers about the dangers of the chainsaws.

A Harbor Freight representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Bursor & Fisher, P.A., represents the plaintiffs.

The case is Olmos v. Harbor Freight Tools USA, Inc., N.D. Cal., 18-4986, complaint 8/15/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Steinberg in Washington at jsteinberg@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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