Rickey Royal, et al v. Stoneridge Control Device, Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions

Answers

1. What is the purpose of receiving the notice?

Answer:

You or someone in your family may own a vehicle containing a CSID that is the subject of the Action and may be eligible to participate in the proposed Settlement.

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2. What is this lawsuit about?

Answer:

Plaintiffs claim that the CSIDs in certain Chrysler vehicles equipped with manual transmissions are defective because they contain return springs that may fatigue. CSIDs operate to prevent ignition unless a vehicle’s clutch pedal is depressed. Plaintiffs claim that fatigued return springs in a CSID can fail such that a driver is able to engage the engine starter motor without the clutch pedal being depressed, which could result in unintended vehicle movement without warning. The same alleged defect could also prevent engine startup without prior warning, which could cause a crash. Plaintiffs allege that Stoneridge is contractually obligated to indemnify owners of vehicles containing the CSIDs for damages they have sustained, namely the need to replace their CSIDs. Stoneridge denies that the subject CSIDs are defective and denies that it owes any indemnity obligations to any of the owners of vehicles containing the subject CSIDs.

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3. Why is this a class action?

Answer:

In a class action lawsuit, one or more persons and/or entities, called plaintiffs, sue on behalf of all persons and/or entities that have similar claims. All of these persons and/or entities are referred to collectively as a class, and these individual persons and/or entities are known as class members. One court resolves all of the issues for all class members, except for those class members who exclude themselves from the class.

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4. Why is there a settlement?

Answer:

The Plaintiffs and Stoneridge do not agree regarding the merits of the Plaintiffs’ allegations in the Action and of Stoneridge’s defenses in the Action with respect to liability or damages, if any, which would be recoverable if Plaintiffs were to prevail at trial on their claims. The issues on which Plaintiffs and Stoneridge disagree include, but are not limited to: (1) whether the subject CSIDs are defective; (2) whether there is any contract that obligates Stoneridge to indemnify owners of the subject CSIDs for their alleged damages; and (3) the amount of the Class Members’ alleged damages, if any, that could be recovered at trial.

This matter has not gone to trial and the Court has not decided in favor of either the Plaintiffs or Stoneridge. Instead, after several years of litigation, the Plaintiffs and Stoneridge have agreed to settle the case. The Class Representative and Class Counsel believe that the Settlement is best for all Settlement Class Members because of the risks associated with continued litigation and the nature of the defenses raised by Stoneridge. Among the reasons why Class Counsel and the Class Representative believe the Settlement is fair is that there is uncertainty about whether they will be able to prove that the CSIDs are defective, that Stoneridge contractually agreed to indemnify owners of the CSIDs, and/or the resulting damages if any. Stoneridge has denied the claims asserted against it in the Action and denies having engaged in any wrongdoing or violation of the law of any kind whatsoever. Stoneridge has agreed to the Settlement solely to eliminate the burden and expense of continued litigation. Accordingly, the Settlement may not be construed as an admission of any wrongdoing by Stoneridge. The Court has already preliminarily approved the Settlement and conditionally certified the Settlement Class for settlement purposes only, so that members of the Settlement Class can be given the notice and the opportunity to exclude themselves, voice their support or opposition to final approval of the Settlement, and a Claim Form to receive the replacement CSID offered by the Settlement. However, because the settlement of a class action determines the rights of all members of the class, the Court must give final approval to the Settlement before it can be effective. If the Court does not give final approval to the Settlement, or if it is terminated, then the Settlement will be void and the Action will proceed as if there had been no Settlement.

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5. How do I know if I am a member of the settlement class?

Answer:

The Settlement Class includes United States residents who currently own vehicles equipped with manual transmissions that incorporate CSIDs built between February 24, 2005 and January 1, 2007 (the “Relevant Period”). As explained below, each CSID has a date code that can be used by the Claims Administrator to determine whether it was built during the Relevant Period. Chrysler is conducting recall campaigns supervised by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that apply to some of these vehicles, and vehicles that are subject to the recall campaigns are excluded from the Settlement Class. More information about the Chrysler recalls is available at https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls. Also excluded from the Settlement Class are Stoneridge and its affiliates, the Released Parties, and all Settlement Class Members who timely and validly request exclusion from the Settlement Class. 

If you are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement Class, you can ask for free help. For more information, contact the Claims Administrator, Heffler Claims Group, by phone at 1- 844-367-8894 (toll-free), visit this website or fill out and return the Claim Form described below, to see if you qualify to participate in the Settlement.

If you are a Settlement Class Member and you wish to be eligible to participate in the Settlement, you must submit a completed Claim Form to the Claims Administrator in accordance with the instructions in FAQ 6 “How Do I Get a Replacement CSID?”

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6. How do I find the date code on my CSID?

Answer:

The CSID is attached to the pushrod beneath your vehicle’s clutch pedal, as shown in the images below (taken from a 2006 Dodge Ram):

Each CSID has a three digit alphanumeric date code etched in the plastic housing, as shown in the image below:

In order to read the date code on your vehicle’s CSID, follow these instructions:

  1. Turn off your vehicle and remove the keys from the ignition.
  2. Put the vehicle in first gear or reverse gear.
  3. Fully apply your vehicle’s parking brake.
  4. Move the front driver’s seat to the full rearward position.
  5. Read the date code etched on the plastic housing of the CSID.

WARNING: FOR YOUR SAFETY, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU TURN OFF YOUR VEHICLE, REMOVE THE KEYS, PUT YOUR VEHICLE IN FIRST OR REVERSE GEAR, AND FULLY APPLY THE PARKING BRAKE BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO READ THE DATE CODE ON YOUR CSID. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU ATTEMPT TO REMOVE YOUR VEHICLE’S CSID OR DISCONNECT THE CSID FROM THE WIRE HARNESS.

WARNING: YOU SHOULD ALWAYS FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS SET FORTH IN YOUR VEHICLE’S OWNERS MANUAL WHEN STARTING YOUR VEHICLE, AND SHOULD NEVER ATTEMPT TO START YOUR VEHICLE WITHOUT FIRST DEPRESSING THE CLUTCH PEDAL TO THE FLOOR.

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7. What does the settlement provide?

Answer:

Under the Settlement, which remains subject to Court approval, Stoneridge will provide all participating Class Members with a free replacement CSID. The retail value of a replacement CSID is approximately $80. Stoneridge is also paying for the cost of the Claims Administrator. Additionally, Class Counsel will ask the Court to award them attorneys’ fees and costs of up to $375,000 as reimbursement for their costs and for their substantial time, expense, and effort expended in investigating the facts, litigating the legal claims in the Action, and negotiating the Settlement. Class Counsel will also ask the Court to award each of the three Representative Plaintiffs $5,000 for their time, effort, and service in the Action (for a total of $15,000).

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8. How do I get a replacement CSID?

Answer:

To qualify for a free replacement CSID, you must send in a completed copy of the Claim Form by mail or submit a Claim Form using the online submission system. You may obtain a copy of the Claim Form or submit an online Claim Form on the internet HERE. Read the instructions on the Claim Form carefully before submission. To submit a Claim Form online, click HERE. To submit a Claim Form by mail, fill out the form, sign it at where indicated, and mail the form, postmarked no later than October 5, 2018 , to the Claims Administrator at the below address:

Clutch Switch Settlement
c/o Heffler Claims Group
P.O. Box 58819
Philadelphia, PA 19102-8819

Any Settlement Class Member who submits a timely Claim Form to the Claims Administrator that shows that their CSID was built during the Relevant Period will receive a replacement CSID along with installation instructions that can be provided to whoever performs the replacement.

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9. What am I giving up to participate in the settlement?

Answer:

Unless you excluded yourself from the Settlement Class no later than January 9, 2018, you will remain a member of the Settlement Class and will be bound by the release of claims against Stoneridge and the other Released Parties if the Settlement is approved. This means you and all other Settlement Class Members and each of their respective parent entities, associates, affiliates, subsidiaries, predecessors, successors, assigns, attorneys, immediate family members, heirs, representatives, administrators, executors, devisees, legatees, and estates will release (agreeing never to sue, continue to sue, or be a part of any other lawsuit against) Stoneridge and the other Released Parties from any and all claims which arise out of, are based upon, or relate in any way to the CSIDs built during the Relevant Period. This means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you and that you will accept a replacement CSID as the sole compensation you will receive for any losses you may have suffered as a result of owning a vehicle equipped with a covered CSID. The specific terms of the release are set forth in the Settlement Agreement.

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10. How do I get out of the settlement?

Answer:

If you do not want to receive a replacement CSID from this Settlement and you want to keep any right you may have to sue or continue to sue Stoneridge or other Released Parties on your own for claims being released as part of the Settlement, then you must take steps to exclude yourself from the Settlement. To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must mail a letter that clearly states: (a) the name of the Action; (b) your full name, address, telephone, and e-mail address (if any); and (c) a statement that you wish to be excluded from the Settlement Class in this Action and from participating in the Settlement. Any such request for exclusion must be signed and submitted by you under penalty of perjury. You must mail your exclusion request, postmarked no later than January 9, 2018, to the Claims Administrator at the following address:

Clutch Switch Settlement
c/o Heffler Claims Group
P.O. Box 58819
Philadelphia, PA 19102-8819

A request for exclusion is not valid and effective unless it provides all the information called for in this section and is received within the time stated above, or is otherwise accepted by the Court. You cannot exclude yourself from the Settlement by telephone or e-mail. If you properly exclude yourself then you will not be eligible to receive a replacement CSID, you cannot object to the Settlement, and you will not be legally bound by the judgment in the Action.

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11. If I do not exclude myself, can I sue Stoneridge or the other Released parties for the same thing later?

Answer:

No. Unless you follow the procedures in FAQ 10 to exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue Stoneridge or other Released Parties for the claims being released in this Settlement. If you have a pending lawsuit related to any Released Claims, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately, since you must exclude yourself from this Settlement to continue your own lawsuit.

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12. Do I have a lawyer in the case?

Answer:

The Court has appointed Hossley & Embry, LLP and Kelly, Durham & Pittard, LLP as Class Counsel to represent the Settlement Class Members. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense. Contact information for Class Counsel is below:

Jeffrey T. Embry
HOSSLEY & EMBRY, LLP
515 S. Vine Avenue
Tyler, Texas 75702
Phone: (903) 526-1772
F. Leighton Durham III
KELLY, DURHAM & PITTARD, LLP
P.O. Box 224626
Dallas. Texas 75222
Phone: (214) 946-8000

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13. How will the Lawyers be paid?

Answer:

Class Counsel has expended considerable time litigating this Action on a contingent fee basis and has paid for all expenses of the case themselves to date. They have not received or been paid any attorneys’ fees or been reimbursed for their expenses in advance of this Settlement. Class Counsel has litigated this action at their own expense with the expectation that, if they are successful in recovering relief for the Settlement Class, they will receive attorneys’ fees and be reimbursed for their costs, as is customary in this type of class action litigation. As noted above, Class Counsel will file a motion asking the Court at the Settlement Hearing to make an award of attorneys’ fees and costs in an amount not to exceed $375,000. Class Counsel will also file a motion asking the Court at the Settlement Hearing to award each Representative Plaintiff an amount not to exceed $5,000 (or $15,000 total). The Motion for Attorney Fees and Costs will be posted on the website after they are filed. The Court may award less than these amounts. Any amounts awarded by the Court will be paid for by Stoneridge, and will not be paid for by members of the Settlement Class or reduce the relief available to those participating in the Settlement.

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14. How do I tell the court if I do not like the settlement?

Answer:

You can tell the Court that you do not agree with the Settlement, Class Counsel’s motion for attorneys’ fees and costs, or Class Counsel’s application for incentive awards to the Representative Plaintiffs, and that you think the Court should not approve the Settlement, by mailing a letter stating that you object to the Settlement no later than January 9, 2018. Your written objection must include all of the following: (a) the name of the Action; (b) your full name, address, telephone, and e-mail address (if any); (c) the make, model, and Vehicle Identification Number of your vehicle and the date code on your CSID; (c) a written statement of all grounds for the objection accompanied by legal support for the objection (if any); (d) copies of all papers, briefs, evidence, or other documents upon which the objection is based (if any); (e) a list of all persons who will be called to testify in support of the objection (if any); (f) a statement of whether you intend to appear at the Settlement Hearing; and (g) your signature or the signature of your counsel. Any person who chooses to object must serve copies of any objections, papers, briefs, and evidence to each of the addresses listed below no later than January 9, 2018

THE COURT:

Clerk of the Court United States District Court Western District of Oklahoma Rm 3102, Courtroom 305 

200 N.W. 4th Street

Oklahoma City, OK 73102

 

CLASS COUNSEL:

Jeffrey T. Embry

HOSSLEY & EMBRY, LLP

515 S. Vine Avenue

Tyler, Texas 75702

            

F. Leighton Durham III KELLY, DURHAM & PITTARD, LLP 

P.O. Box 224626 

Dallas, Texas 75222 

COUNSEL FOR STONERIDGE:

Scott P. Drake

NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT US LLP

2200 Ross Avenue

Suite 3600

Dallas, Texas 75201

 


Unless the Court orders otherwise, any Settlement Class Member who does not object in the manner described above will be deemed to have waived any objection and shall be forever foreclosed from making any objection to the proposed Settlement, Class Counsel’s motion for attorneys’ fees and costs, or Class Counsel’s application for incentive awards to the Plaintiffs. Settlement Class Members do not need to appear at the Settlement Hearing or take any other action to indicate their approval.

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15. What is the difference between objecting and requesting Exclusion from the settlement class?

Answer:

Objecting means telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement Class. Requesting exclusion from the Settlement Class means telling the Court that you do not want to be a part of the Settlement Class or participate in the Settlement. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class then you cannot object to the Settlement because it no longer concerns you. If you stay in the Settlement Class and object, but your objection is overruled by the Court, then you will not be allowed a second opportunity to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.

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16. When and where will the court decide whether to approve The proposed settlement?

Answer:

The Court will hold the Settlement Hearing on January 30, 2018 at 9:00 a.m., at the United States District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, 200 N.W. 4th Street, Room 3102, Courtroom 305, Oklahoma City, OK 73102. At the hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and whether to approve the Settlement. If there are objections, then the Court will consider them and listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court may also decide how much to award Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and costs and how much to award to the Plaintiffs. 

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17. Do I have to attend the settlement hearing?

Answer:

No. Class Counsel will answer any questions that the Court has at the Settlement Hearing. But you are welcome to attend at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to the Settlement Hearing to talk about it. As long as you mail your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. The Settlement Hearing may be adjourned by the Court without further written notice to the Settlement Class. If you intend to attend the Settlement Hearing, you should confirm the date and time with Lead Counsel.

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18. What happens if I do nothing at all?

Answer:

If you do nothing, you will not receive a replacement CSID under the Settlement. However, unless you exclude yourself, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with the lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Stoneridge or the Released Parties about the Released Claims (as defined in the Settlement Agreement) ever again.

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19. Can I see the court file for the action?

Answer:

This website contains only a summary of the terms of the proposed Settlement. For more detailed information about the matters involved in this Action, you are referred to the papers on file in the Action, including the Settlement Agreement, which may be inspected during regular office hours at the United States District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, 200 N.W. 4th Street, Room 3102, Courtroom 305, Oklahoma City, OK 73102. Additionally, copies of the Settlement Agreement and any related orders entered by the Court will be posted in the “Documents” section of this the website, maintained by the Claims Administrator.

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20. Inquiries

Answer:

If you have any questions about the Settlement,  please do not contact the court. 

All inquiries about the Notice, the Settlement, the Claim Form, and any other questions by Settlement Class Members should be directed to:

Clutch Switch Settlement c/o 
Heffler Claims Group 
PO Box 58819
Philadelphia, PA 19102-8819

OR

Jeffrey T. Embry 
Hossley & Embry, LLP 
515 S. Vine Avenue 
Tyler, Texas 75702 

903-526-1772 (phone) 
903-526-1773 (fax) 
info@hossleyembry.com 

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This website is authorized by the Court, supervised by counsel and controlled by Heffler Claims Group, the Claims Administrator approved by the Court. This is the only authorized website for this case.

For more information please call 1-844-367-8894

Documents

Please read for a full explanation of the settlement and your options and all applicable timelines.

Contact

Contact us with any inquiries, comments, and/or requests.

Submit Claim

Click here to safely and securely submit a Claim Form.

Important Dates

  • Claim Form Deadline.

    Friday, October 5, 2018 You must submit your Claim Form on-line no later than Friday, October 5, 2018, or mail your completed paper Claim Form so that it is postmarked no later than Friday, October 5, 2018.
  • Exclusion Deadline.

    Tuesday, January 9, 2018 You must complete and mail your request for exclusion so that it is postmarked no later than Tuesday, January 9, 2018.
  • Objection Deadline.

    Tuesday, January 9, 2018 You must mail your objection(s) and/or notice of intent to appear at the Final Approval Hearing so that it/they are postmarked no later than Tuesday, January 9, 2018.
  • Final Approval Hearing Date.

    Tuesday, January 30, 2018 The Final Approval Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, January 30, 2018. Please check this website for updates.

Important Documents

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