Whirlpool Corp. v. Grigoleit Co., No. 11-2421 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Grigoleit supplied knobs for Whirlpool’s washing machines and dryers for several years, and sought to increase prices and amend the parties’ purchase contracts in 2004. The parties reached an amended agreement in 2005, which Whirlpool terminated later that year. When Grigoleit demanded final payment, Whirlpool sued, arguing the contract was unenforceable. The district court upheld the contract but found some aspects of it unconscionable. The Seventh Circuit agreed that the contract was enforceable. Under Michigan law both substantive and procedural unconscionability are required to hold an agreement unenforceable. Refusing to certify questions to the state’s supreme court, the Sixth Circuit reversed the holding that a $40,000 flat fee and 8% increase are unconscionable. Whirlpool created the urgent and unfavorable conditions under which it proposed these terms, and had ample time and opportunity to negotiate more favorable terms. Whirlpool had the resources, experience, and ability to avoid the terms entirely, yet chose not to do so.