The family that sued Whirlpool Corp. in
a $1,200 dispute over a satellite dish and was awarded $581 million
by a jury has settled the case out of court. Terms were not
The verdict in May 1999 prompted the Legislature to put caps on
punitive damage awards in Alabama and prompted criticism of large
The settlement was disclosed Tuesday by The Montgomery
Advertiser. Attorney Tom Methvin, who represented the family,
confirmed a settlement but wouldn't disclose details. Neither would
Whirlpool's attorney, Bob Spotswood.
A Hale County judge last year trimmed the punitive damages to
$300 million, a decision Whirlpool was appealing when it settled
with Barbara Carlisle and her parents, George and Velma
Merriweather, in December.
Carlisle and her parents sued Whirlpool and Gulf Coast
Electronics, contending the companies tried to gouge them out of
$1,200 on the sale of two $1,100 satellite dishes in 1995. They
dropped their claims against Gulf Coast Electronics as part of the
Whirlpool has also settled lawsuits in similar satellite dish
disputes with 40 other Alabama families and 10 families in
Mississippi, the attorneys said.
The original jury, Methvin said, "wanted to draw national
attention to what's become more and more of a problem. Some
segments of corporate America are coming into the living rooms of
some of the most vulnerable people in America and taking advantage