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Commonly Asked Questions


Why was the notice issued?

Answer:

The Court authorized the notice because you may be a potential Class Member and have a right to know about a proposed Settlement, and about your rights and options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement.  You will be informed of the progress of this Settlement and may receive benefits if you are a Class Member and submit a completed and timely Claim Form.  The notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights. 

 

Judge Ann D. Montgomery is currently overseeing this case for the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.  The case is known as George v. Uponor, No. 12-cv-249.  The people who sued are called the “Plaintiffs.”  Uponor Inc.,Wirsbo Company, and Uponor Wirsbo Inc., together called Uponor, and certain developers/builders, subcontractors, and suppliers/distributors (together called the “Other Defendants”) are the “Defendants.”  A complete list of Other Defendants is available in the Long Form Notice.

What is this lawsuit about?

Answer:

The lawsuit claims that Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings and components made from high zinc content brass were defectively designed and prematurely corrode (orbreak down) when drinking water runs through them.  This chemical process is called “dezincification.”  The lawsuit also claims that when the high zinc content brass is exposed to this water over time, it becomes blocked, cracks, weeps, seeps, and/or leaks and may affect your water supply.

 

Uponor and the Other Defendants deny all of the claims and allegations made in the lawsuit. Uponor believes they acted responsibly in the design of plumbing products and components that are made from high zinc content brass. The Other Defendants believe they acted responsibly in supplying, selecting, using, and installing the plumbing products and components in plumbing systems.

 

High zinc content brass is material that is made primarily of copper and 30% (or more) zinc.  The high zinc content brass products in this case, Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings, were made of UNS C36000, C37700, or C35330 brass or similar copper alloys and were used as components of a piping plumbing system (called the “Uponor/Wirsbo PEX System”).  This lawsuit is not about personal injuries, wrongful death, or emotional distress.

Why is this a class action?

Answer:

In a class action, one or more people called “class representatives” (in this case, Tim George, Galen and Leslie Satterlee, Gail Henrichsen, Dave and Holly Marcus, Kelly Babb, Gary and Elsa Overstreet, Roger Sweidan, Susan Loomis, Rodolfo and Maria Celis, and Curtis and Tina Smith) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims.  All of these people are a “class” or “class members.”  One court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.

Why is there a Settlement?

Answer:

The Court has not decided in favor of the Plaintiffs, Uponor, or the Other Defendants. Instead, both sides have agreed to a Settlement.  By agreeing to the Settlement, they avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and Class Members will receive the benefits described in the notice.  The proposed Settlement does not mean that any law was broken or that Uponor or the Other Defendants did anything wrong.  The Class Representatives and the attorneys think the Settlement is best for all Class Members. 

Who is included in the Settlement?

Answer:

You are generally included in the Class if you own (or owned or later own) buildings, Common Areas, Residential Units, or Non-Residential Properties located in the United States*, built on or after January 1 ,2002, which contain (or contained) Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings.

 

Under this Settlement:

 

  • Common Areas are portions of a common-interest community (such as a Homeowner’s Association) other than the units, including easements, common elements, and real estate owned or leased by the association.
  •  Residential Units are single-family dwellings, townhomes, condominiums, co-ops, and multiple family housing (such as a duplex, quadraplex, or apartment) where the title to the individual unit(s) is transferred to the owner.

  • Non-Residential Properties are any multi-unit commercial structure(s) including, but not limited to:

    • Dormitories, hotel/motels, or other similar structures that contain multiple dwelling units or rooms for temporary stays; 

    • Common Areas and other areas owned by homeowners’ associations; and

    • Appurtenances.  (These are structures, installations, facilities, amenities, or other improvements that belong to or benefit one or more residences, but are not part of the dwelling units.  For example, parcels of real property, recreational facilities, golf courses, walls, sidewalks, driveways, landscaping, common elements, certain Common Areas, and other structures).

 

*Please note that there is a separate Settlement that has been reached involving properties in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Who is not included?

Answer:

Not included are:

 

  • People who submit Opt-Out Forms by August 19, 2015;
  • People who previously filed an individual lawsuit concerning Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings that was resolved by a final judgment or settlement (regardless of the outcome);

  • The Uponor Defendants and their attorneys;

  • The judge in the case and members of the judge’s family;

  • People who own or owned a property containing Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings that were installed before January 1, 2002;

  • People who are or are making other claims related to Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings included in several additional cases.  (These cases are called “California/Arizona Class Action Excluded Uponor Yellow Brass Fitting Claims” and are described in more detail in the Settlement Agreement.); and

  • Owners of Las Vegas properties included in the case called In re: Wirsbo Non-F1807 YBFs, No. 08-cv-1223 (“Las Vegas Class Action”).  (If a person owns property outside the area covered by the Las Vegas Class Action, and is not included within the “California/Arizona Class Action Excluded Uponor Yellow Brass Fitting Claims,” that property would be included in this case.)

How do I know if my home has these products?

Answer:

There are several ways to find out if your home has these products.

 

  • Identifying Stickers: Look inside your electrical panel for a yellow sticker that says “Uponor,” “Wirsbo,” or “Aquapex.” Not all homes containing these products have a sticker on the electrical panel box.  See photos under the Photos of Stickers tab of this website showing what these stickers look like.
  • Confirmation by a Plumber: You may also hire a plumbing company that knows how to identify these products.  If you choose to hire a plumber, you will be responsible for paying them. Be sure to keep a copy of the plumber’s documentation, including color photos or other files that confirm the products are present.

I am still not sure if I am included.

Answer:

If you are not sure whether you are included or have any other questions about the Settlement, you can get free help.  Visit this website, www.BrassFittingsClass.com, or call the toll free number, 1-866-483-0374. Or you can fill out and return the Claim Form.  You may also send questions to the Settlement Administrator at Nationwide Uponor Settlement, PO Box 2268, Faribault, MN 55021-2388.

What does the Settlement provide?

Answer:

If the Settlement is approved and becomes final, it will provide benefits to Class Members.  Uponor and the Other Defendants will pay money into a Settlement Fund to reimburse Class Members for eligible previous repairs and/or future repairs or replacement costs relating to leaks or flow issues along with related property damage.  Uponor will also provide an extended warranty for eligible property damage and water flow issues.  The maximum Uponor will pay for the Settlement is $21 million. (This amount will cover payments applied to all eligible claims and future warranty obligations under the extended warranty.)

 

Uponor will commit $3 million to initially fund the Settlement and will add money to the fund to ensure it does not go below $2 million as claims are being paid.  After five years, any money left in the Settlement Fund after claims are paid will go back to Uponor.

 

Uponor will also pay for the costs associated with the notice and administration of the Settlement, attorneys’ fees and costs, and special service payments to the Class Representatives.  The Other Defendants are contributing $18 million in funding for the Settlement.

 

The Settlement Agreement under the Court Documents tab has more information.

What can I get from the Settlement?

Answer:

The amount of any benefit you may receive will depend on the amount and type of included property that you own and the damage you have experienced and/or repairs or replacement needed.  The benefits chart in the Long Form Notice summarizes the included types of claims and maximum payment amounts or benefits available based on the kind of property owned. 

What is the Extended Warranty?

Answer:

Uponor will provide an Extended Warranty for eligible Property Damage Claims and Low Flow and Fitting Replacement Claims that result from dezincification of Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings as follows:

 

  • Warranties Regarding Property Damage: All Class Members will have a minimum two-year warranty for eligible Property Damage Claims relating to Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings.

 

Covered Property

Warranty Details

Sold more than 10 years after the Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings installation.

 

The two-year warranty will begin the date of final Settlement Approval.

Sold within 10 years of the Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings installation.

 

The two-year warranty will begin the date the existing warranty expires.

Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings warranty has expired.

The minimum warranty period will be two years from the date of final Settlement Approval.

 

  • Warranties Regarding Low Flow and Replacement Failures:

 

Covered Property

Warranty Details

Sold more than 10 years after the Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings installation.

 

A five-year warranty will begin the date of final Settlement Approval.  This will run at the same time as any other applicable warranty(ies) issued by Uponor.

 

Sold within 10 years of the Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings installation.

 

A 25-year warranty will begin on the date when the Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings were installed.  This will run at the same time as any other applicable warranty(ies) issued by Uponor.

 

How can I get benefits?

Answer:

To get benefits from the Settlement, you must send in a Claim Form. You can get a Claim Form under the Claim Form tab of this website.  Please read the instructions carefully, fill out the form completely and accurately, sign the form, and include all the documents the form asks for. Your Claim Form must be submitted by the deadlines provided in the Settlement Agreement (generally within six months of the loss/event) and addressed to:

 

Nationwide Uponor Settlement

PO Box 2268

Faribault, MN 55021-2388

When will I get benefits?

Answer:

The Court will hold a hearing on September 8, 2015 to decide whether to approve the Settlement.  Payment of claims will begin only after the Court grants final approval to the Settlement and any appeals are resolved.  If there are appeals, resolving them can take time.  Everyone who sends in a Claim Form will be informed of the progress of the Settlement.  Please be patient.

How long is the claims period?

Answer:

The claims period will run for five years from when the Settlement is approved.  After that, claims should be submitted to Uponor for the duration of the extended warranty.

What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Class?

Answer:

If the Settlement becomes final, unless you exclude yourself, you will give up your right to sue Uponor and/or the Other Defendants for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.  You will be bound by all the Court’s orders.  You will be “releasing” Uponor, the Other Defendants, and all related people as described in Section 83 of the Settlement Agreement.

 

The Settlement Agreement describes the claims that you give up if you remain in the Settlement.

What if I don’t want to be included in the Settlement?

Answer:

If you do not want to receive benefits from this Settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue Uponor and/or the Other Defendants on your own about the issues in this lawsuit, you must exclude yourself (or “opt out”) of it.  If you exclude yourself, you will not be bound by any Court orders.

How do I get out of the Settlement?

Answer:

To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you need to complete the Opt-Out Form and make sure the Claim Administrator receives it by August 19, 2015. Opt-Out Forms under the Notice tab of this website.  Your form must include:

  • Your name;
  • Your current address and telephone number;
  • The address of the property(ies) containing the Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings;
  • Whether the Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings have already leaked;
  • The date the system leaked and caused damage to the property;
  • Your signature; and
  • Your attorney’s signature (if you are represented by one).

 

Mail your Opt-Out Form to: Nationwide Uponor Exclusions, PO Box 2268, Faribault, MN 55021-2388.  

If you want to withdraw your request to opt out, you must do so by August 19, 2015.

If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue Uponor for the same thing later?

Answer:

No.  Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue Uponor and/or the Other Defendants on your own about the claims this Settlement resolves.

If I exclude myself, can I still get benefits?

Answer:

No.  If you ask to be excluded, you will not get benefits from this Settlement.  Do not send in a Claim Form. 

Do I have a lawyer in the case?

Answer:

Yes.  The Court has appointed the following law firms to represent you and other Class Members as “Lead Class Counsel”:

 

J. Randall Jones

Kemp, Jones, & Coulthard, LLP

3800 Howard Hughes Pkwy, 17th Floor

Las Vegas, NV 89169

 

Robert Shelquist

Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.

Suite 2200

100 Washington Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55401-2159

 

Scott K. Canepa

Canepa, Riedy, Abele & Costello

851 S. Rampart, Suite 160

Las Vegas, NV 89145

 

Lawrence Deutsch

Berger & Montague, P.C.

1622 Locust Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103

How will the lawyers be paid?

Answer:

Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees and expenses up to $7.5 million and a payment of $5,000 per home to each of the Class Representatives.  The Court may award less than these amounts.  Uponor will separately pay the fees and expenses that the Court awards.  These amounts will not come out of the fund for payments to Class Members.  You will not be charged for these lawyers, and you will not have to pay any of their fees and expenses. 

 

The attorneys’ motion for fees, costs, and expenses and Class Representative payments will be filed on or before August 24, 2015. The motions will be posted on this website.  Uponor and the Other Defendants have agreed not to oppose these motions for fees and expenses.  Uponor will also separately pay the costs to administer the Settlement.

Should I hire my own lawyer?

Answer:

Class Counsel is representing you and all of the other members of the Class.  If you want to be represented by another lawyer, you may hire one to appear in Court for you at your own expense.

How do I tell the Court that I don’t like the Settlement?

Answer:

If you choose to remain a Class Member, you can object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it.  You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it.  The Court will consider your views.

 

To object, you must send a letter stating that you object to George v. Uponor, No. 12-cv-249.  Your written objection must also include:

 

  • Your name;
  • Your current address and telephone number;
  • The address of the property(ies) that may contain Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings;
  • A written statement of your objection(s), including any legal support and/or any supporting evidence you wish to introduce;
  • A statement of whether you intend to appear and speak at the Fairness Hearing;
  • Your signature; and
  • Your attorney’s signature (if you are represented by one).

 

If you choose to object, in order to be considered by the Court, your written objection must be mailed to each of the following addresses and received no later than August 19, 2015:

 

For the Court:

Clerk of the Court

United States District Court for the District of Minnesota

300 South Fourth St.

Suite 202

Minneapolis, MN 55415

For Class Counsel:

J. Randall Jones

Michael J. Gayan

Kemp, Jones, & Coulthard, LLP

3800 Howard Hughes Pkwy, 17th Floor

Las Vegas, NV 89169

 

For Uponor:

John R. Schleiter

Howard L. Lieber

Grotefeld, Hoffmann, Schleiter, Gordon, & Ochoa, LLP

311 S. Wacker, Suite 4500

Chicago, IL 60606

 

For the Other Defendants:

Darren K. Cottriel

Jones Day

3161 Michelson Drive, Suite 800

Irvine, CA 92612

 

 

What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?

Answer:

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement.  You can object only if you stay in the Class.  Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be a part of the Class.  If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object to the Settlement because the Settlement no longer affects you.

When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

Answer:

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 2:00 p.m. PST on September 8, 2015, in Courtroom 13W before Judge Ann D. Montgomery of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, located at United States Courthouse, Minneapolis Building, 300 South Fourth Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55415.  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.  If there are objections, the Court will consider them.  The Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court may also decide whether to award attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as the special payments to the Class Representatives.  After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement.  We do not know how long these decisions will take.

Do I have to come to the hearing?

Answer:

No. Class Counsel will answer questions the Court may have at the Fairness Hearing.  But you are welcome to come at your own expense.  If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it.  As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it.  You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.

May I speak at the hearing?

Answer:

Yes, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter stating that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in George v. Uponor, No. 12-cv-249.”  Your Notice of Appearance must also include:

   

  • Your name;
  • Your current address and phone number;
  • The details of what you want to be heard about; and
  • Your signature.

 

Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be received no later than August 19, 2015.  You cannot speak at the Fairness Hearing if you excluded yourself.

What happens if I do nothing?

Answer:

If you do nothing now, you will remain in the Class and get no benefits at this time. However, you will be eligible to receive the Settlement benefits if you submit a valid Claim Form in the future.  You will be bound by all the Court’s orders, and you will not be able to start, join, or continue to sue Uponor and/or the Other Defendants about the same legal claims resolved in this Settlement. 

How do I get more information?

Answer:

The notice is only a summary.  More details are in the Settlement Agreement, available under the Court Documents tab of this website.  You can also get more information or request a Claim Form by calling toll free at 1-866-483-0374 or writing to Nationwide Uponor Class Action, PO Box 2268, Faribault, MN 55021-2388. 

 

You and/or your lawyer may also review court documents related to the case at the office of the Clerk of the Court, United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, 300 South Fourth St., Suite 202, Minneapolis, MN 55415 on any business day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Disclaimer

Please do not contact Uponor, the Other Defendants, or the Court with questions about the Settlement. Any and all callers will be directed to this website. If you have questions, please refer to the Commonly Asked Questions and the other information posted here or contact the Settlement Administrator by calling 1-866-483-0374 or by writing to Nationwide Uponor Settlement, PO Box 2268, Faribault MN 55021-2388.

This site is not operated by Uponor and/or the Other Defendants. The class action is supervised by the Court and is administered by an administration firm that handles all aspects of claims processing. Uponor and/or the Other Defendants are not authorized to respond to questions from members of the Settlement Class regarding the Settlement.

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