Sharp v. Watts Regulator Co., Case No. 8:16-cv-00200-JFB-TDT
Klug v. Watts Regulator Co., Case No. 8:15-cv-00061-JFB-TDT
The lawsuits allege that Watts:
The lawsuits allege that Watts’ actions led to the failure of the Water Heater and FloodSafe Connectors. The lawsuits ask for replacement connectors to be provided to those who purchased Water Heater and FloodSafe Connectors and for money to be paid to those who paid to repair property damage as a result of the failure of the connectors.
Watts denies all the claims and allegations in the lawsuits. Watts maintains that its Water Heater and FloodSafe Connectors are not defective in any respect and that any failures are the result of other factors (such as improper installation, misuse, or products being at the end of their lifespan).Back To Top
In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of all people who have similar claims. All of these people are the “Class” or “Settlement Class Members.” A single court resolves the issues for all Settlement Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Settlements (see FAQ 15).Back To Top
The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Watts. Instead, both sides agreed to settle these cases to avoid the cost and risk of further litigation and trial. The Settlements do not mean that any law was broken or that Watts did anything wrong. Watts denies all legal claims and allegations in this case. The Class Representatives and their lawyers think the Settlements are best for all Settlement Class Members.Back To Top
Who Are In The Settlements
To see if you will be affected by the Settlements or if you can get a payment from it, you need to decide if you are a Settlement Class Member.
The Settlements include anyone who owns or owned (or leases or leased) a residence or other structure located in the United States containing a Watts Water Heater or FloodSafe Connector after November 4, 2008. This includes any person or entity that suffered property damage and/or paid to repair property damage caused by the failure of a Watts Water Heater or a FloodSafe Connector.
The Settlement Class, as approved by the Court, is formally defined as follows:
“All individuals and entities that own or owned, or lease or leased a residence or other structure located in the United States containing a Water Heater or a FloodSafe Connector after November 4, 2008.”
The following can help you identify whether you may have a Water Heater or a FloodSafe Connector covered by these Settlements:
A label attached to either a FloodSafe or Water Heater connector that identifies Watts, Watts Regulator, Anderson Barrows, Savard, Everbilt, Ace Hardware, Wolverine Brass, Do-It-Best, Grainger, CalFlex, MainLine, Aqua-Flo, Belanger, Danco Diamond Back, Lincoln, Mabe, PlumbMaster, PlumBest, PurePro, Electrolux or Kenmore may qualify if the connector has the above physical features.Back To Top
Yes. The following are not included in the Settlements:
If you are not sure whether you are in the Settlement Class, or have any other questions about the Settlement, call 1-877-845-3575, or you may write to Watts Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 4259, Portland, OR 97208-4259.Back To Top
To be eligible to file a claim for a payment under the Settlements, a Settlement Class Member must own a Water Heater or a FloodSafe Connector. Any person or entity who has or had property damage and/or paid to repair property damage as a result of a failed Watts Water Heater or FloodSafe Connector may also file a claim.Back To Top
Money will be added to the settlement fund in installments. Under these Settlements, Watts will pay $14 million ($10 million into a settlement fund for Water Heater connectors and $4 million into a settlement fund for FloodSafe Connectors). After the cost of all notice, administration, litigation expenses, and attorneys’ fees are paid out of this fund, the rest will be distributed to Settlement Class Members who file claims in the form of Replacement of Connectors and/or Payment of Property Damages Due to Failure.
Replacement of Connectors:
For eligible claims submitted within one year of final approval of the Settlements, Settlement Class Members can receive a cash payment of $10 for each Water Heater and FloodSafe Connector (up to two water heater connectors and two FloodSafe Connectors per residence or other structure) that they replace. The maximum cash payment for replacement of connectors is $40.
To receive a payment, you must provide proof that you own or possess a Watts Water Heater or FloodSafe Connector by providing: (1) a label for the connector or a photo of the connector’s label or the connector itself and (2) a receipt from purchasing the replacement connector. There is no restriction on what brand of connector you purchase to replace your Watts Water Heater or FloodSafe Connector.
Payment of Property Damages:
For eligible claims, Settlement Class Members can recover up to 25% of documented costs of repairs for property damage caused by the failure of a Watts Water Heater or FloodSafe Connector, with a minimum recovery of $25.
The Claims Administrator will review claims to determine whether they are eligible and timely, and pay the amount of the claims. Claims for damage that occurred from November 4, 2008 to November 4, 2014 must be postmarked on or before one year after final approval order after all appeals are exhausted of the Settlements. Claims for damage that occurred after November 4, 2014, must be filed within four years after final approval order after all appeals are exhausted. Valid claims will be paid once a year throughout the four-year claims period.
If the amount of approved claims is greater than the amount of money available in the settlement fund, the Claims Administrator will reduce the initial payments made to Settlement Class Members to an amount less than 25% of their approved Claim to make sure that all eligible Settlement Class Members receive a payment. If money is left in the fund at the end of the annual payment process, the Claims Administrator may provide a “catch up” payment to Settlement Class Members whose payments had been reduced to proportionally increase their total payment amounts. These payments will not exceed 25% of the property damage for each Claim.
To support your claim, you must submit the following documentation:
Settlement Benefits - What you get if you qualify
Follow the instructions on the Claim Form to receive a payment under these Settlements. All Claim Forms must be submitted along with any necessary supporting documentation or information. Claims may be submitted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed by First-Class United States Mail, postage prepaid, to the Claims Administrator:
Watts Claims Administrator P.O. Box 4259 Portland, OR 97208-4259
You cannot submit your Claim Form and accompanying materials by telephone. If you change your address and want to receive a Claim Form or any payment owed to you at your new address, you should notify the Claims Administrator of your new address by sending written notice of your change of address to the Claims Administrator at the address above.
Claim Forms are available here or by calling 1-877-845-3575. You may request one by writing to Watts Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 4259, Portland, OR 97208-4259.Back To Top
Validation of Claims for Benefits. The Claims Administrator will begin reviewing all timely Claim Forms after the final approval of the Settlements. The Claims Administrator will evaluate your claim based on all the information and documentation you provided and within written guidelines available here.
Denial of Claims for Benefit. If your Claim Form and accompanying materials do not meet all of the requirements of the Settlements, the Claims Administrator will deny your claim as “invalid,” you will not receive any payment, and you will be informed in writing of that decision. A Special Master will be available for a Settlement Class Member filing a claim for property damage to appeal a denial by the Claims Administrator. Instructions for appealing a decision of the Claims Administrator for a property damage claim will be provided with all denied claims.
Payment of Validated Claims for Benefits. If you submit a Claim Form and the Claims Administrator determines that your Claim Form and the accompanying materials are valid, the Claims Administrator will send you a payment. Payments will be made annually, but may be broken into an initial payment and a second “catch up” payment as explained in FAQ 9.
No Payment Until After Appeals Are Resolved. The Claims Administrator will not make any payments to Settlement Class Members until the Court grants final approval of the Settlements and until any appeals are resolved. During the appeals process, the Claims Administrator will continue to accept claims.Back To Top
If the Settlements become final, Settlement Class Members who submit a claim or do nothing will be “releasing” Watts from all of the Released Claims as described in paragraphs 86-93 of the Settlement Agreements. This means you will no longer be able to sue Watts regarding any of the claims described in the Settlement Agreements.
The Settlement Agreements are available here. The Settlement Agreements provide more detail regarding the release and describe the released claims with specific descriptions in necessary, accurate, legal terminology—so read it carefully. You can talk to the law firms representing the Settlement Classes listed in the section “The Lawyers Representing You” for free or you can, at your own expense, talk to another lawyer if you have any questions about the Released Claims or what they mean.Back To Top
Excluding Yourself From The Settlements
If you do not want a payment from the proposed Settlements and you want to keep the right to sue Watts about the legal issues in these cases, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlements. This is called asking to be excluded from, or sometimes called “opting out,” of the Settlement Class.
No. If you exclude yourself, you may not apply for any benefits under the Settlements and you cannot object to the proposed Settlements. If you are excluded, you may sue or bring a different lawsuit against Watts in the future. You will not be bound by these Class Action Settlements.Back To Top
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Watts for all of the claims resolved by these Settlements. You must exclude yourself from the Settlement Classes to start or continue your own lawsuit relating to the claims in these cases.Back To Top
To exclude yourself from the Settlements and the Settlement Classes, you must send the Claims Administrator a written request that contains the following:
You must mail your completed request for exclusion by March 7, 2017 to:
Watts Claims Administrator P.O. Box 4259 Portland, OR 97208-4259
You cannot ask to be excluded on the phone, by email, or on this website.
If you do not file your request on time and include the information above, you will remain a Settlement Class Member. That means you will lose any opportunity to exclude yourself from the Settlement(s), and your rights will be determined in this lawsuit by the Settlement Agreement(s), if it receives final judicial approval.Back To Top
The Lawyers Representing You
The Court named Shanon J. Carson of Berger & Montague, P.C., Bryan L. Clobes of Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP and Joseph G. Sauder of McCuneWright, LLP as Lead Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer in this case, you may hire one at your own expense.
If you hire your own attorney, your attorney must file an appearance no later than March 7, 2017, with the Clerk of Court, and must send a copy by First-Class United States Mail to Class Counsel and Watts’ counsel at the addresses in FAQ 18, postmarked no later than March 7, 2017. If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlements, you will continue to be a Settlement Class Member, even if you are represented by your own attorney. You will be responsible for any fees and costs charged by your own attorney.Back To Top
Watts agreed to pay the costs of class notice and claims administration, including the costs of distributing any payments owed to Settlement Class Members under the Settlements. If the Settlements are approved by the Court Class Counsel will ask the Court for reasonable attorneys' fees and reimbursement of litigation costs not to exceed 30% of the total award. Also, Class Counsel will ask the Court for a service award of $5,000 to each Class Representative.Back To Top
Objecting To The Settlements
If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Classes, you may object to the certification of the Settlement Classes, to the terms of the proposed Settlements, or to Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees, expenses or the request for service awards.
To do so, you (or your own attorney) must provide your objection in writing by First-Class mail to Lead Class Counsel and Watts’ counsel no later than March 7, 2017 with the following information:
If you want to appear at the Fairness Hearing on your own behalf (or through your own attorney) and speak in court, you need to file a Notice of Appearance with the Court and the Claims Administrator. This Notice needs to list (in detail) the subjects you will talk about. You need to mail copies of the Notice of Appearance to Class Counsel and Watts’ counsel, postmarked no later than March 7, 2017 to the following addresses:
|States District Court for the District of Nebraska
located at the U.S. Courthouse
111 South 18th Plaza
Omaha, Nebraska 68102
|Watts Claims Administrator
P.O. Box 4259
Portland, OR 97208-4259
|Class Counsel||Counsel for Watts|
|Shanon J. Carson
Berger & Montague, P.C.
1622 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Bryan L. Clobes
Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP
1101 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Joseph G. Sauder
1055 Westlakes Drive
Berwyn, PA 19312
David S. MacCuish
Todd B. Benoff
Alston & Bird LLP
333 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Keith E. Smith
Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC.
Two Liberty Place
50 South 16th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
If you do not file your objection on time and include the information above, you will lose the opportunity to have your objection considered at the Fairness Hearing. You will also not be able to object to approval of the Settlements or appeal any of the Court's decisions in connection with the Settlements.Back To Top
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement Classes. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Classes. If you exclude yourself, you cannot object to the Settlements and you will not be eligible to apply for any benefits under the Settlements because the cases no longer affect you.Back To Top
The Court's Fairness Hearing
On April 12, 2017 at 1:30 p.m., the Court will hold a public hearing in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, located at the U.S. Courthouse, 111 South 18th Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska 68102. The Court will decide whether the Settlement Classes were properly certified and whether the Settlements are fair, adequate, and reasonable and should be finally approved. The Court will also consider Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees, expense reimbursement, Plaintiff service awards, and any objections.
This hearing may be delayed or rescheduled by the Court without further notice to the Settlement Classes. Please check this website for updates.
Settlement Class Members who object to the Settlements are not required to attend the Fairness Hearing. If you want to speak in Court to object to the Settlements, either personally (or through your own attorney), you must notify the Court of your intention to appear at the Fairness Hearing (see FAQ 18).Back To Top
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have regarding the Settlements. However, you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send in a written objection, you do not have to attend the Fairness Hearing to discuss your objection. If you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. Your own lawyer may attend the Fairness Hearing at your expense, but their attendance is not necessary.Back To Top
Getting More Information
More details are in the Settlement Agreements. You can view the Settlement Agreements, Claim Form, and other documents for the Settlements here. You may also write with questions to Watts Claims Administrator or Class Counsel. Their information can be found on the Contact Us page of this website.
You may also get advice and guidance from your own private attorney at your own expense.
Please do not write or telephone the Court, Watts, or any Watts sales representative or agent for information about the Settlements or these lawsuits.Back To Top