Chepiga v. Conair – Notice of Class Action Settlement

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY


If You Own a Cuisinart Food Processing Machine, You May be Eligible for a Replacement Blade and Other Relief from a Class Action Settlement.

A federal court authorized this notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.

  • On December 13, 2016, Cuisinart’s parent company Conair announced the recall of a specific blade from certain Cuisinart food processor models, directed consumers to stop using the recalled blades, and announced it would send replacement blades to the owners of those models free of charge.
  • The recall was announced after some users of those Cuisinart models reported finding cracks in the blades from use of the food processors over time, which could on rare occasions cause portions of the blades to detach.
  • If you have a Cuisinart food processor whose model number begins with any of the following, CFP-9, CFP-11, DFP-7, DFP-11, DFP-14, DLC-5, DLC-7, DLC-8, DLC-10, DLC-XP, DLC-2007, DLC-2009, DLC-2011, DLC-2014, DLC-3011, DLC-3014, EV-7, EV-10, EV-11, EV-14, KFP-7 or MP-14, those models contain a blade with four small rivets, called the “riveted blade.”
  • If you have one of those models, and it contains a riveted blade, stop using the riveted blade immediately.
  • If you have one of those models, you are a member of the Settlement Class, and you have rights under this Settlement.
  • Conair denies any liability, and the Court has not decided which side is right. However, in order to settle the case and avoid the costs and risks of litigation, the parties have agreed to this Settlement.
  • Your legal rights are affected whether you act or don’t act, so please read this notice carefully.

SUMMARY OF YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT

DO NOTHING, AND YOU WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY INCLUDED IN THE CLASS AS OF FEBRUARY 27, 2018

As a Class member, you are entitled to, upon submission of a claim, (1) receive a replacement blade by the deadline provided in Paragraph 8, below, and (2) receive a three-year warranty on your replacement blade. If you do not receive your replacement blade by your applicable deadline in Paragraph 8, below, you will receive a $15 check. In addition, if you submitted your replacement blade request by April 1, 2017, and you do not receive your replacement blade by September 30, 2017, you will receive a second $15 check if your replacement blade is more than 60 days late (not received by November 29, 2017).

By remaining in the Class, you give up your ability to pursue a separate lawsuit against Conair with respect to the alleged defects in the riveted blade, except for claims for actual physical injuries. (You still would have the right to sue for claims involving the food processor that are unrelated to any alleged problems with the blade.)

EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM THE CLASS BY FEBRUARY 26, 2018

You have the right to exclude yourself from the Settlement by following the requirements in Paragraph 12, below. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will not receive any of the benefits from the Settlement. You have a right to participate in the recall, but you will not be guaranteed a replacement blade by the deadline and you will not receive checks if your replacement blade is late. By excluding yourself from the Settlement, you preserve your right to participate in another lawsuit against Conair with respect to the alleged defects in the riveted blade (note that Class members are allowed to sue for actual physical injuries from the riveted blade, and are allowed to sue for claims involving the food processor that are unrelated to any alleged problems with the blade).

OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT BY FEBRUARY 26, 2018

If you want to remain in the Class, but disagree with the Settlement or some aspects of the Settlement, you may write to the Court with your objection, following the requirements in Paragraph 17, below. If the Court approves the Settlement despite your objection, you will receive the same benefits as any other Class member.

GO TO THE FINAL APPROVAL HEARING ON APRIL 5, 2018

The Court will have a hearing to discuss whether the Settlement is fair to Class members. You may ask to speak at that hearing, following the requirements in Paragraph 21, below.

  • These rights and options, and the procedures and deadlines you have to follow to exercise them, are explained in this notice.
  • The Court still has to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, and there is no appeal or any appeals are resolved without changing the Settlement, Class members will receive the benefits set forth in this notice.

BASIC INFORMATION

  1. Why is there a notice?

A Court authorized this notice because you have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement. This notice explains the lawsuits, the Settlement, and your legal rights.

The lawsuit involved in the Settlement is Chepiga v. Conair Corporation, No. 17-cv-1090 (D.N.J.).

The judges overseeing the lawsuit and Settlement are District Judge Brian R. Martinotti, and Magistrate Judge Lois H. Goodman of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Trenton, NJ. The people who filed the lawsuit are called the “Plaintiffs.” Conair Corporation is the “Defendant.”

  1. What is this lawsuit about?

The lawsuit concerns Conair Corporation’s recall of the Cuisinart machines’ riveted blades. Some users have reported that when using the Cuisinart machines, the riveted blade could crack over time, causing portions of the blade to detach. The lawsuit claims that Conair promoted the Cuisinart machines as functional when in fact they did not function as claimed, that the machines lost value when consumers had to stop using the riveted blades, and that Conair violated express and implied warranties.

The complaint is posted on the website http://www.cuisinart.com/settlement and explains the facts, allegations, and claims that are asserted against Conair. Conair denies any wrongdoing or liability and maintains that its current blade replacement program complies with all applicable warranties and legal obligations. The parties have agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid the cost and risk involved.

  1. Why is this a class action?

In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case, six people who own Cuisinart machines) sue on behalf of themselves and other people with similar claims. Together, all of the people with similar claims (except those who exclude themselves) are considered members of a “Settlement Class.”

  1. Why is there a Settlement?

The Court has not decided which side is right. Instead, both sides have agreed to a Settlement. By agreeing to the Settlement, both sides avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and Settlement Class members receive the benefits described in this notice. The proposed Settlement does not mean that any law was broken or that Conair did anything wrong. Conair denies all legal claims in this case. Class Representatives and their lawyers (“Class Counsel”) think the proposed Settlement is best for everyone who is affected.

WHO IS PART OF THE SETTLEMENT?

  1. Who is part of the settlement?

All Conair customers who are eligible to receive a replacement blade pursuant to the December 13, 2016 product recall, meaning all owners of a Cuisinart machine whose model number begins with CFP-9, CFP-11, DFP-7, DFP-11, DFP-14, DLC-5, DLC-7, DLC-8, DLC-10, DLC-XP, DLC-2007, DLC-2009, DLC-2011, DLC-2014, DLC-3011, DLC-3014, EV-7, EV-10, EV-11, EV-14, KFP-7 or MP-14 that contained a riveted blade.

  1. What if I am not sure whether I am included in the Settlement?

If you are not sure whether you are in the Settlement Class, or have any other questions about the Settlement, visit the Settlement website at http://www.cuisinart.com/settlement.

SETTLEMENT BENEFITS

  1. What does the Settlement provide?

If the Settlement is approved and becomes final, it will provide benefits to Settlement Class members.

Conair commits (i) to provide Settlement Class members with replacement blades according to the schedule below, (ii) for any Settlement Class member who does not receive a replacement blade by the applicable deadline, Conair will provide that member with a $15 check, (iii) for any Settlement Class member who submitted a replacement blade request on or before April 1, 2017, and does not receive a replacement blade within 60 days after the applicable deadline (not received by November 29, 2017), Conair will provide that member with another $15 check, and (iv) to provide Settlement Class members with a three-year warranty on their replacement blades. Provision of the checks described above shall be the sole and exclusive remedy for the Settlement Class in the event Conair misses applicable deadlines.

In return, Settlement Class members give up any right to sue Conair about the defects in the riveted blade, except for lawsuits for actual physical injuries resulting from the riveted blade. (Settlement Class members are allowed to sue Conair for claims involving the food processor that are unrelated to any alleged problems with the blade.)

Class Counsel will be seeking from Conair attorney’s fees and reimbursement for the costs incurred in pursuing this lawsuit, and the six Class Representatives will be seeking incentive awards, not to exceed $2,500 each. The Court will decide the final amount of the attorneys’ fees and incentive awards.

Conair will pay the costs of notice, and will post this notice or a link to it on its website, Facebook and Twitter pages, and will send this notice by email to all known customers of the affected machines.

  1. When will I receive my replacement blade?

If you are a Settlement Class member, you will receive your replacement blade by the following deadline, depending on when you submitted your request:

Date of submission of request for replacement blade.

Date Conair will fill request.

On or before April 1, 2017.

By September 30, 2017.

April 2, 2017 to June 30, 2017.

By September 30, 2017 or within 150 days of receipt, whichever is later. (September 30, 2017 to November 27, 2017).

July 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017

By December 1, 2017.

October 1, 2017 to December 13, 2020.

Within 90 days of receipt (December 30, 2017 to March 13, 2021).

If you do not receive your replacement blade by the deadline, you will receive a $15 check along with your replacement blade.

If you submitted your replacement blade request on or before April 1, 2017, and you do not receive your replacement blade by 60 days after the September 30, 2017 deadline (not received by November 29, 2017), you will receive another $15 check along with your replacement blade.

NOTE: If you submit your replacement blade request after December 13, 2020 (four years after the recall was announced), you are not guaranteed to receive a replacement blade within 90 days of receipt of your request, and you will not receive checks.

Conair is allowed to extend those deadlines if it receives more than 20,000 requests for replacement blades in one month.

  1. What happens if I do not receive my replacement blade by the deadline?

If you are a Settlement Class member who submitted a replacement blade request, and you do not receive your replacement blade by the deadline in Paragraph 8, above, you will receive a $15 check in addition to your replacement blade.

If you are a Settlement Class member who submitted a replacement blade request on or before April 1, 2017, and you still have not received your replacement blade 60 days from the September 30, 2017 deadline (not received by November 29, 2017), you will receive another $15 check in addition to your replacement blade.

  1. What am I giving up to stay in the Settlement Class?

Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you cannot sue Conair, or be part of any other lawsuit against Conair about the issues in this case – the only exceptions are that you would still have the right to sue if you have experienced an actual physical injury resulting from a riveted blade, and you would have the right to sue for claims involving the food processor that are unrelated to any alleged problems with the blade. Unless you exclude yourself, all of the Court’s decisions in this case will bind you. The Settlement Agreement is available at http://www.cuisinart.com/settlement and describes in full the claims that you give up if you remain in the Settlement.

HOW TO RECEIVE A REPLACEMENT BLADE

  1. How can I receive a replacement blade?

Call Cuisinart at 1-877-339-2534 or fill out the form at http://www.cuisinart.com/recall

EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT

If you do not want to receive benefits from the Settlement, and you want to keep the right to sue Conair about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement. This is called excluding yourself or “opting out” of the Settlement Class.

  1. How do I get out of the Settlement?

To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter or other written document by mail to Counsel list below. Your request must include:

  • Your name, address, email address, and telephone number, and the model number and serial number of your Cuisinart machine;
  • The statement, “Please exclude me from the settlement in the action Chepiga v. Conair Corporation, No. 17-cv-1090 (D.N.J.)” or another similar statement clearly stating the case name and number and a desire to be excluded from the settlement; and
  • Your signature.

The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement is February 26, 2018.

You must mail and email your exclusion request, postmarked no later than February 26, 2018, to each of the following two addresses:

Radice Law Firm, PC Attn: Cuisinart/Conair Litigation
301 North Harrison St
Suite 9F-429
Princeton, NJ 08540

jradice@radicelawfirm.com
alambert@radicelawfirm.com
drubenstein@radicelawfirm.com

Lewis R. Clayton
James H. Borod

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind,
Wharton & Garrison LLP
1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019
lclayton@paulweiss.com
jborod@paulweiss.com

You cannot ask to be excluded over the phone or at the website.

  1. If I do not exclude myself from the Settlement Class, can I sue Conair for the same thing later?

No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Conair for the issues that the Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class in order to try to maintain your own lawsuit against Conair.

However, whether or not you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you are allowed to sue Conair if you suffer an actual physical injury from a riveted blade, or if you have a claim involving the food processor other than a problem with the blade.

  1. If I exclude myself, can I still get a replacement blade?

If you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you are allowed to participate in the recall and get a replacement blade. However, you will not get the benefits of the Settlement – Conair does not guarantee to send your replacement blade by the deadline, and you won’t receive a check if you submitted a replacement blade request and the replacement blade is delayed.

THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

  1. Do I have a lawyer in the case?

The Court has appointed the Radice Law Firm to represent all Settlement Class members as “Class Counsel.” Their contact information is:

Radice Law Firm, P.C.
301 North Harrison St, Suite 9F-429
Princeton, NJ 08540
Tel: (646) 245-8502
Fax: (609) 385-0745
www.radicelawfirm.com

You will not be charged for contacting the Radice Law Firm. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense. You do not need to hire your own lawyer or enter a formal appearance to be a Settlement Class member, but you have the right to hire an attorney and enter a formal appearance.

  1. How will the lawyers be paid?

Class Counsel intend to request attorneys’ fees for the time and effort their lawyers put into this lawsuit, and also request compensation for the costs they incurred in pursuing this lawsuit. These attorneys’ fees and costs would be separate from the benefits received by Settlement Class members. Class Counsel will also request that incentive awards of up to $2,500 each be paid to the six Class Representatives for their service as representatives on behalf of the whole Settlement Class. The attorney’s fees, lawsuit costs, and incentive awards will be paid by Conair. The Court will decide the amount to award in each of those categories.

OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT

  1. How do I tell the Court if I do not like the Settlement?

If you are a member of the Settlement Class, you can object to any part of the Settlement, the Settlement as a whole, Class Counsel’s requests for attorney’s fees and lawsuit costs, and/or the incentive awards to the six Class Representatives. To object, you must submit a letter that includes the following:

  • Your name, address, email address, and telephone number;
  • A statement that you own a Cuisinart machine subject to the recall, and its model number and serial number;
  • A statement saying that “I object to the settlement in the action Chepiga v. Conair Corporation, No. 17-cv-1090 (D.N.J.)” or a similar statement clearly stating the case name and number and a desire to object to the Settlement;
  • The reasons you object to the Settlement, along with any supporting materials;
  • Information about objections you or your lawyer have made in other class action cases;
  • Any lawyers who are representing you in your objection, or who have previously represented you in your objection;
  • Whether you will attend or intend to testify (speak) at the Final Approval Hearing (see Paragraph 21);
  • Any lawyers who will represent you at the Final Approval Hearing; 
  • Any witnesses you will ask to testify in support of your objection at the Final Approval Hearing; and 
  • Your signature.

You must mail and email your objection to each of the following three addresses, and your objection must be postmarked by February 26, 2018:

Clerk of the Court
U.S. District Court for the
District of New Jersey
Clarkson S. Fisher Building
& U.S. Courthouse
402 East State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608

Radice Law Firm, PC
Attn: Cuisinart/Conair Litigation
301 North Harrison St
Suite 9F-429
Princeton, NJ 08540
jradice@radicelawfirm.com
alambert@radicelawfirm.com
drubenstein@radicelawfirm.com

Lewis R. Clayton
James H. Borod
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind,
Wharton & Garrison LLP
1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019
lclayton@paulweiss.com
jborod@paulweiss.com

 

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

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 FINAL APPROVAL HEARING

The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement and any requests for attorney’s fees, lawsuit costs, and service awards. You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you don’t have to do so.

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

The Court has scheduled a Final Approval Hearing on April 5, 2018. The Final Approval Hearing will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the United States District Court for District of New Jersey, Trenton Vicinage, located at Clarkson S. Fisher Building & U.S. Courthouse, 402 East State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check http://www.cuisinart.com/settlement for updates. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider any request by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees, lawsuit costs, and service awards to 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. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

  1. Do I have to attend the hearing?

No. Class Counsel will answer questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to attend the hearing 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 submitted your written objection on time, and to the proper addresses, and it complies with the other requirements described in Paragraph 17, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.

  1. May I speak at the hearing?

You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that you intend to appear and wish to be heard. Your letter must include the following:

  • Your name, address, email address, and telephone number;
  • The model number and serial number of your Cuisinart machine;
  • A statement that this letter is your “Notice of Intention to Appear” at the Final Approval Hearing for the Conair Settlement;
  • The reasons you want to be heard;
  • Copies of any papers, exhibits, or other evidence or information that you will present to the Court; and
  • Your signature.

You must send copies of your Notice of Intention to Appear, postmarked by February 26, 2018, to all three addresses listed in Question 17. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.

GETTING MORE INFORMATION

  1. How do I get more information?

This notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. For a complete, definitive statement of the Settlement terms, refer to the Settlement Agreement at http://www.cuisinart.com/settlement. You also may write with questions to Class Counsel, the Radice Law Firm, PC, at the address or emails listed in Question 17.