UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
In re: Caterpillar, Inc. C13 and C15 Engine Products Liability Litigation
A Court authorized a notice because you have a right to know about the proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit known as In re: Caterpillar, Inc. C13 and C15 Engine Products Liability Litigation, United States District Court District of New Jersey, MDL No. 2540, Master Docket No. 14-3722(JBS)(JS) and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement. The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.
If you did not receive a copy of the Notice, you can download a copy here.Back To Top
The lawsuit alleges that Caterpillar's exhaust emission control system, known as the CAT Regeneration System (“CRS”), failed to work reliably, causing its EPA 2007 Compliant Caterpillar On Highway C13 and C15 engines (manufactured in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009), including the CRS components incorporated therewith (“Subject Engines”) to derate (lose horsepower) and shut down and requiring Caterpillar authorized, dealer technicians to repair the Subject Engines, which they allegedly could not effectively do. The complaint in the lawsuit alleges that the CRS failed to operate under all conditions and all applications on a consistent and reliable basis even after repeated CRS warranty repairs and replacements. Allegedly, these repeated warranty repairs and replacements failed to correct the CRS issues, resulting in damages to the owners and lessees of vehicles with the Subject Engines. The alleged damages included diminished value of the vehicles powered by the Subject Engines and out-of-pocket costs such as repair invoices, towing costs, vehicle rental costs and related hotel/taxi charges. Among other claims, the complaint alleges causes of action for breach of express warranty.
Caterpillar has filed answers denying the claims of Plaintiffs and strongly denies all of Plaintiffs’ claims; denies all allegations of wrongdoing, fault, liability or damage of any kind to Plaintiffs or the Class/Settlement Class; denies that it acted improperly or wrongfully in any way; and believes that this litigation is without merit.
Judge Jerome B. Simandle of the United States District Court District of New Jersey is overseeing this case. The people who sued are called the “Plaintiffs.” Caterpillar Inc. (Caterpillar) is the “Defendant.”
The Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint, the Settlement Agreement, Preliminary Approval Order, and other case-related documents are posted here. The Settlement resolves the lawsuit. The Court has not decided who is right.Back To Top
In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of themselves and other people with similar claims. Together, all the people with similar claims (except those who exclude themselves) are members of a “Settlement Class.”
The Class Representatives here are Ronald Bagley; Bailey Coach, Inc.; BK Trucking Co.; Leroy Bolton Trucking Co.; David Brewer; Brian Brown; Bryant’s Transport, Inc.; C&F Movers, Inc.; Columbia Petroleum Transportation, LLC; DeCamp Bus Lines; Eagle Valley South, Inc.; Easton Coach Company; Eclipse Charter & Tours, LLC; First Priority Tours, Inc.; G&G Specialized Carriers; Gentry Coach d/b/a Gentry Trailways; Harmon Bros. Charter Services, Inc.; John Lamanteer; K Double D, Inc.; Kelton Tours Unlimited Limited Liability Company; Edward Charles McLean; MNS Enterprises, Inc.; NW Navigator Luxury Coaches LLC; Roadrunner Charters, Inc.; Salud Services, Inc. d/b/a Endeavor Bus Lines; S&M Mercado, Inc.; German Saravia; Scenic Boundaries Trans. Inc.; Tri-City Charter of Bossier Inc.; U.S. Transport; Vandalia Bus Lines, Inc.; Ricky A. Williams; and Windy City Limousine LLC.Back To Top
The Court has not decided in favor of the Plaintiffs or Defendant. Instead, both sides have agreed to the Settlement. By agreeing to the Settlement, the Parties avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and if the Settlement is approved by the Court, Settlement Class members will receive the benefits described in the Notice. The proposed Settlement does not mean that any law was broken or that Caterpillar did anything wrong. Caterpillar denies all legal claims in this case. Plaintiffs and their lawyers think the proposed Settlement is best for everyone who is affected.Back To Top
A “Subject Engine” is defined as all EPA 2007 Compliant Caterpillar On Highway C13 and C15 engines (manufactured in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009) at issue in the lawsuit, including the CRS components of the engines.
“CRS” stands for “Caterpillar Regeneration System” and describes the components of the Subject Engines. The parts that make up the CRS are described here.
A “CRS Related Repair” means a repair or replacement of any Caterpillar Regeneration System related part or component (an ARD Head for example) as indicated by the 45 DT and F code combinations set forth here. Repairs or replacements made due to a Caterpillar Service Letter performed pro-actively shall not be considered as a CRS Related Repair. The CRS Related Repair can have occurred at any time during your ownership of a vehicle with the Subject Engine. If you have any questions about how to determine the number of CRS Related Repairs that cannot be answered by the Notice or this website, you may call the Settlement Administrator at 1-888-593-5379.Back To Top
The Settlement includes all persons or entities in the United States who are original purchasers, original lessees, subsequent purchasers or subsequent lessees (including but not limited to those having purchased via a TRAC option or some rights to residual purchase of vehicles at lease end) of a vehicle powered by a Subject Engine. The Parties agree to certification of the national Settlement Class for purposes of the Settlement Agreement only.
Excluded from the Class are Defendant, all present or former affiliates and/or directors of Defendant, the Judge of this Court, the Judge’s family and staff, and all persons who have already made a timely and valid exclusion to be excluded from the Class in accordance with the provisions of the Notice of Pendency, all persons who have already released claims against Defendant for the relief provided herein, and all persons who will make a timely and valid election to be excluded from the Class in accordance with the provisions of the Notice. Settlement Class does not include persons or entities that have previously executed settlement releases concerning the Subject Engines. Such persons or entities that have previously executed settlement releases are specifically excluded from the Class.Back To Top
The Settlement establishes a $60 million Settlement Fund for the benefit of the Class. All Class members who submit an Approved Claim (one deemed by the Settlement Administrator to be on time, accurate and complete) will be eligible to receive a pro rata share of the Net Settlement Fund according to the following guidelines:
Instead of seeking a payment as set forth in B or C above, each eligible Class member that experienced at least one CRS Related Repair has the option to seek to claim losses (proofs could include receipts, invoices, bills, etc.) up to a maximum of $15,000, experienced as a consequence of qualified CRS Related Repairs. These losses can include but not be limited to towing charges, rental charges, and hotel charges. In the event the Class member seeks payment pursuant to this optional prove up process, the Class member shall not be eligible to seek payment under B. or C. above.
Payments to eligible Claimants may be adjusted pro rata (up or down) depending on the number of eligible claims filed and the total amount of the Settlement Fund available to pay claims. Payments to Class members will exhaust the Net Settlement Fund. No money will be returned to Caterpillar.Back To Top
In order to receive a cash payment, you must complete and submit a valid Claim Form. If you received the Notice in the mail, a Claim Form was included. You may also download a Claim Form here. Claim Forms must be postmarked on or before March 20, 2017 to:
Caterpillar Engine Settlement Administrator
PO Box 4153
Portland, OR 97208-4153
You may also file your Claim Form online by clicking here.
Please read the Claim Form carefully, follow all of the instructions and provide all the information required. You may file a Claim for each Subject Engine in vehicles you owned or leased. If you have questions about how to file your claim that cannot be answered by the Notice or this website, you may call the Settlement Administrator at 1-888-593-5379.Back To Top
Payments to Class members who file eligible claims will be made only after the Court grants “final approval” to the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved (see FAQ “When and where will the court decide whether to approve the settlement?”). If there are appeals, resolving them can take time. Please be patient.Back To Top
Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Caterpillar about the issues in this case, including any existing litigation, arbitration, or proceeding. Unless you exclude yourself, all of the decisions and judgments by the Court will bind you. If you file a Claim Form for benefits or do nothing at all, you will be releasing Caterpillar from all of the claims described and identified in Section 12 of the Settlement Agreement.
The Settlement Agreement is available here. The Settlement Agreement provides more detail regarding the release and describes the released claims with specific descriptions in necessary, accurate legal terminology, so read it carefully. You can talk to the law firms representing the Class listed in FAQ 16 for free, or you can, at your own expense, talk to your own lawyer if you have any questions about the released claims or what they mean.Back To Top
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter or other written document by mail to:
Caterpillar Engine Settlement Administrator
PO Box 4153
Portland, OR 97208-4153
Your request for exclusion must include the following:
Your exclusion request must be postmarked no later than August 6, 2016. You cannot ask to be excluded on the phone, by email, or on this website.Back To Top
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right you might have to sue Caterpillar for legal claims that the Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class in order to try to maintain your own lawsuit. If you start your own lawsuit, you will have to hire your own lawyer, and you will have to prove your claims.Back To Top
No. You will not get a payment from the Settlement Fund if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.Back To Top
The Court has appointed the following lawyers as “Lead Class Counsel” to represent all members of the Settlement Class: Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC; Shepherd Finkelman Miller & Shah, LLP; Quantum Legal, LLC and Carella Byrne Cecchi Olstein Brody & Agnello, P.C. Other firms include Seeger Weiss, LLP, Kohn; Swift & Graf and Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman.
You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by another lawyer, you may hire one to appear in Court for you at your own expense.Back To Top
Class Counsel intend to request up to thirty-three and 1/3 percent (33⅓% ) of the value of the Settlement Fund for attorneys’ fees plus reimbursement of reasonable expenses. The Court will decide the amount of fees and expenses to award.
Class Counsel also will request that Service Awards of $20,000 be paid from the Settlement Fund to each of the Class Representatives for their service as representatives on behalf of the whole Settlement Class.Back To Top
If you are a Settlement Class member (and do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class), you can object to any part of the Settlement. To object, you must submit a letter or other written document that includes the following:
You must file your objection with the Court (using the Court’s electronic filing system or in any manner in which the Court accepts filings) by August 21, 2016. You must also serve your objection on Class Counsel and counsel for Defendant and mail a copy to the Settlement Administrator so that it is received no later than August 21, 2016. The addresses are listed below.
|CLERK OF THE COURT||ADMINISTRATOR||DEFENDANT'S COUNSEL|
|Clerk of the Court
Mitchell H. Cohen Building
& U.S. Courthouse
4th & Cooper Streets
Camden, NJ 08101
|Caterpillar Engine Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 4153
Portland, OR 97208-4153
|James H. Keale
One Newark Center
1085 Raymond Blvd
Newark, NJ 07102
|James C. Shah
Miller & Shah, LLP
475 White Horse Pike
Collingswood, NJ 08107
|James E. Cecchi, Esq.
Carella, Byrne, Cecchi, Olstein,
Brody & Agnello P.C.
5 Becker Farm Road
Roseland, NJ 07068
|Richard J. Burke
Quantum Legal LLC
513 Central Avenue
Suite 300 Highland Park, Illinois 60035
|Theodore J. Leopold
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
2925 PGA Boulevard
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object to the Settlement only if you do not exclude yourself. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object to the Settlement because it no longer affects you.
The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement and any requests for fees and expenses (“Fairness Hearing”).Back To Top
The Court has scheduled a Fairness Hearing on September 20, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. at the United States District Court District of New Jersey, Mitchell H. Cohen Building & U.S. Courthouse 4th, & Cooper Streets, Room 1050, Camden, NJ 08101. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updates. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider the requests by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and for Service Awards to the Class Representatives. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at that time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. It is unknown how long these decisions will take.Back To Top
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But, you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submitted your written objection on time, to the proper addresses, and it complies with the other requirements set forth above, the Court will consider it. You also may pay your own lawyer to attend the hearing, but it is not necessary.Back To Top
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. Any Class member who wishes to appear at the Final Approval Hearing must file with the Clerk of the Court a “Notice of Intention to Appear,” which must be received by August 6, 2016. The Notice of Intention to Appear must include copies of any papers, exhibits or other evidence that the objecting Class member or counsel for the objecting Class member will present to the Court at the Final Approval Hearing. Only a Class member who files a Notice of Intention to Appear may appear in person or by counsel and be heard to the extent permitted under applicable law and allowed by the Court, in opposition to the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy of the Settlement and on Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s application for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs. The address for the Clerk of the Court is listed in FAQ 16 above.
You cannot ask to speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.Back To Top
If you are a Class member and do nothing, you will not get benefits from the Settlement. And, unless you exclude yourself, you will be bound by the judgment entered by the Court. This means you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit or proceeding against Caterpillar about the statements and claims at issue in this case.Back To Top
More details are in the Settlement Agreement. For a complete, definitive statement of the Settlement terms, refer to the Settlement Agreement. You may also write with questions to the Settlement Administrator at Caterpillar Engine Settlement Administrator, PO Box 4153, Portland, OR 97208-4153, or call the toll-free number, 1-888-593-5379.Back To Top