SEATTLE, Jan. 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit known as Vicki Linneman, et al. v. Vita-Mix Corp., et al., Case No. 1:15-cv-748, pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, alleging that the top seal of blade assemblies in certain Vitamix containers may fleck, causing black flecks to enter food or drink during blending. These flecks are of a non-stick material (polytetrafluoroethylene or "PTFE") that is common in cookware and many other products in the food industry. Plaintiffs' Complaint does not allege any medical harm resulted from any consumption of PTFE. Vitamix produced information from an independent third-party lab reporting that the flecks are harmless when consumed and do not present a human health or safety risk. However, Plaintiffs allege that, as a result of the black flecks Vitamix blenders are worth less than what consumers and businesses paid to purchase them. Vitamix denies the allegations in the Lawsuit and has asserted numerous defenses. The Court has not ruled on the merits of Plaintiffs' claims.
Who's included? You are included in the settlement as a "Class Member" if you: (a) own a Vitamix household blender with a blade assembly dated on or after January 1, 2007 but before October 1, 2016; or (b) own a Vitamix commercial blender that was (i) purchased on or after September 15, 2015 but before August 9, 2016 or before April 7, 2017 in the case of a commercial blender from the XL product line, (ii) never used in connection with the Replacement Seal, and (iii) purchased through a third- party, such as a dealer, distributor, or restaurant supply store and not acquired directly from Vitamix.
What does the settlement provide? Class Members who timely submit a Valid Claim are eligible for certain benefits depending on whether they purchased a household or commercial Vitamix blender. Class Members who own a Vitamix household blender may choose between (1) a $70 gift card to purchase certain Vitamix products; or (2) a newly designed replacement blade assembly that does not produce flecks. Owners of one or more Vitamix commercial blenders submitting Valid Claims can receive a new replacement blade assembly from Vitamix, with a maximum of two blade assemblies. Vitamix has also agreed to pay (1) reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses to Class Counsel, as awarded by the Court; (2) court-approved Service Awards of $3,000 each to the two Named Plaintiffs; and (3) the costs and expenses of administering the Settlement.
How to get benefits? To receive any settlement benefits, you must submit a valid Claim Form on or before September 28, 2018. Details regarding how to submit a claim are available on the Settlement Website at www.BlenderSettlement.com.
What are your options? If you submit a claim or do nothing and the Court approves the Settlement, you will give up your right to sue Vitamix for any of the claims released in the Settlement. If you do not want to receive a Gift Card or Replacement Blade Assembly, but you want to keep your right to sue Vitamix separately for the same claims resolved by this settlement, you must exclude yourself by submitting an exclusion request postmarked no later than March 7, 2018. If you do not exclude yourself, you may object and notify the Court that you or your lawyer intend to appear at the Court's Fairness Hearing. Objections and intentions to appear are due and must be filed with the Court no later than March 7, 2018.
The Court will hold a hearing on March 28, 2018 to determine whether to approve: the settlement agreement; Class Counsels' request for fees and expenses; payments to the Named Plaintiffs; and settlement administration expenses. The payment of these amounts will not reduce the amount of the Class benefits. Class Counsel's Fee Application (not to exceed $9 million) will be filed with the Court by January 31, 2018, and it will also be posted to the Settlement Website.
Want more information? THIS IS ONLY A SUMMARY. Details regarding the Settlement (including the Settlement Agreement), your rights, the Claim Form, and important dates can be found at www.BlenderSettlement.com. You may also call toll-free (855) 233-4747 or email BlenderSettlement@jndla.com with any questions.
Questions? Call the Settlement Administrator at (855) 233-4747 or go to www.BlenderSettlement.com; PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT.
SOURCE JND Class Action Administration