SANTA ANA, Calif., April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Who Own or Owned a Norcold 1200 Series, N6 Series, or N8 Series Gas-Absorption Refrigerator or Cooling Unit, Could Get Benefits From a Class Action Settlement.
Class Action Settlement Preliminarily Approved: There is a proposed settlement in two class action lawsuits against Norcold, Inc., Thetford Corporation, and The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation ("Defendants") concerning three models of gas absorption refrigerators (1200, N6 and N8 series) for use in recreational vehicles ("RVs"), such as motorhomes, travel trailers, and boats. Those persons included in the settlement class have legal rights and options and deadlines by which they must exercise them.
On March 29, 2016 the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted preliminary approval to the proposed class action settlement and authorized the sending of the Notice of Settlement to the members of the Settlement Class by mail and publication.
Fairness Hearing Scheduled: The Court has scheduled a fairness hearing to occur on September 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm at the United States District Court in Santa Ana California at which time it will consider whether to finally approve the settlement and whether to grant Class Counsel's petition for attorneys' fees and costs.
The Claims: Generally, the lawsuits claim that Defendants' 1200, N6 and N8 series gas-absorption refrigerators share a safety-related defect in the cooling unit which, in certain circumstances, can cause the boiler tubes to corrode and leak flammable gas, exposing consumers to the risk of fire. The lawsuits seek compensation for economic losses related to the purchase of those Norcold Gas Absorption Refrigerators and Cooling units. The lawsuits do not allege class claims for personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property other than the allegedly defective Norcold Gas Absorption Refrigerators or Cooling Units themselves. Defendants deny any wrongdoing and have denied all allegations in the Complaint and asserted many defenses. The Court has not issued any orders deciding which side was right was on the merits. Instead, after considerable discovery and other motion practice, the parties decided to enter mediation before an experienced former judge and ultimately, to settle the class claims.
Who is In the Class: Subject to certain limited exclusions, those persons included in the Settlement Class are persons who:
- Currently own, or formerly owned, a Norcold 1200 Series Gas Absorption Refrigerator or Cooling Unit that was manufactured between January 1, 2002, and October 1, 2012; OR,
- Currently own a Norcold N6 Series Gas Absorption Refrigerator or Cooling Unit, or N8 Series Gas Absorption Refrigerator or Cooling Unit that was manufactured between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013.
Those persons who do not fall within the class definition, are not part of the Settlement Class and are not affected by the settlement.
The settlement does not involve class claims for personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property other than to the Norcold refrigerator they own, owned, or may own in the future. Such claims are considered Reserved Claims and are not subject to the release of claims.
Settlement Benefits: The settlement creates a $36 million Monetary Fund to resolve all eligible claims of class members and to fund all administrative costs and attorneys' fees that may ultimately be awarded by the Court. The Monetary Fund will be divided in the manner described in the settlement agreement's Allocation Plan, and be paid in four annual installments. Generally, to receive a payment, class members must timely submit a Claim Form by August 26, 2016. Class members who file claim forms will be allotted a certain number of shares in the Settlement's Monetary Fund based on factors attested to on their Claim Form such as model owned (1200, N8 or N6), whether they are a current or former owner, and whether any repair expenses were incurred, and if so, in what amount. The Allocation Plan is described more fully in the detailed Notice and Claim Form available at www.norcoldclassaction.com.
In addition, Defendants will provide, at Defendants' sole expense, a three-year extended warranty to class members who own N6 and N8 Series gas absorption refrigerators manufactured between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2013, for a cooling unit that fails due to a leak.
While Class counsel can petition to receive up to 25% of the Monetary Fund as attorneys' fees and to reimburse costs incurred, the final amount awarded will ultimately be determined by the Court. Fee petitions will be filed by Class Counsel by August 11, 2016.
Important Deadlines: It is important to note certain deadlines associated with the settlement approval process.
a. Claims Deadline: To receive a share of the Monetary Fund class members must submit a Claim Form by August 26, 2016. A separate claim can be made for each Norcold 1200, N8 or N6 refrigerator owned during the applicable time period. If class members do nothing they will remain in the Class, be subject to the release, will not be able to sue Defendants about the issues raised in the lawsuit, but may not receive the benefits for which they may be eligible.
b. Opt-Out Deadline: If class members do not want to be part of the settlement, they must exclude themselves (or "opt-out") by August 26, 2016. If class members opt-out, they will not be eligible to share in the settlement benefits and receive any payment, but they will retain the right to sue Defendants on the class claims asserted. Defendants, in turn, will retain all defenses to those claims that they have. If class members do not timely exclude themselves from the Settlement Class, they will be bound by the settlement and be subject to the release.
c. Objection Deadline: Class members can object to all or part of the settlement by August 26, 2016, if they don't exclude themselves.
Enter Appearance: If class members prefer, they may enter an appearance through the legal counsel of their choice, at their own expense. Otherwise, they will be represented by court-appointed Class Counsel, Zimmerman Reed LLP.
Additional Information: A detailed Notice and Claim Form explaining the foregoing in greater detail is available online at www.norcoldclassaction.com. The detailed Notice describes the settlement, how class members may exclude themselves, submit a Claim Form and/or object to the proposed settlement in greater detail. The settlement website also contains copies of other pertinent documents such as copies of the operative complaints, Defendants' answer and the full settlement agreement. We encourage class members to read and review these materials. Interested persons may also call 1-877-449-8550 for further information or to request copies of the detailed Notice or Claim Form.
SOURCE Zimmerman Reed, LLP