SoClean filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Philips, for statements made about Philips’ CPAP and bilevel recall. According to SoClean’s complaint, “Philips has misled the public and engaged in acts of deliberate misdirection, placing blame on SoClean to divert attention away from obvious design flaws, including a poor choice of sound abatement foam, which led to its recent voluntary product recall of Philips’ CPAP machines, BiPAP machines, and ventilators.” SoClean seeks damages from Philips in excess of $200 million.
Philips did not respond to a request for comment.
SoClean alleges that Philips and its CEO and chairman of the board, Frans van Houten, made false and misleading statements regarding ozone cleaners that have had a negative impact on SoClean’s business. Among other things, the complaint states that Philips and its CEO wrongfully suggested to consumers, distributors, health care professionals, and the general public that SoClean and its ozone cleaners were somehow responsible for the product recall.
The reason for the product recall, according to SoClean’s complaint, was that Philips chose a material for sound abatement—polyester-based polyurethane foam—which is “known to degrade in the presence of heat and humidity” and “off-gases harmful chemicals right out of the box.” Many of the recalled products operate under hot and humid conditions, often with the use of a heated humidifier.
“We are disappointed that Philips has decided to point the finger at SoClean for its product recall and has chosen to make false and misleading statements about our products,” says Robert Wilkins, CEO of SoClean, in a release. “By this lawsuit, SoClean intends to defend itself against Philips’ dishonest attacks, restore its hard-earned reputation, and correct the record for a consuming public that has been intentionally misled by Philips.”