Digby Adler v. Mercedes Benz USA

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this Class Action about?
  2. What does the Settlement provide?
  3. Why is this lawsuit being settled?
  4. How do I know if I am part of this Settlement Class?
  5. How do I participate in the Settlement?
  6. How will the Settlement affect my rights?
  7. How do I request to be excluded from the Settlement?
  8. May I object to the Settlement?
  9. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  10. May I get my own lawyer?
  11. How will Class Counsel be paid?
  12. What else does the Settlement provide?
  13. Will I have to pay taxes on my award?
  14. What claims are being released as part of the Settlement?
  15. When will the Court consider whether to finally approve the Settlement?
  16. What if the proposed Settlement is not approved?
  17. How do I get more information?



  1. What is this Class Action about?

    Plaintiff alleges MBUSA distributed certain Sprinter Vans equipped with rear air conditioning units that allegedly would leak water into the interior of the vans. The operative complaint asserts fraud- and warranty-based claims, including claims for fraudulent concealment, violation of California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, Cal. Civil Code § 1790 et seq., violation of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Cal. Civil Code § 1781 et seq., violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, et seq., and violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J. Stat. Ann. § 56:8-1, et seq.

    MBUSA denies all of the material allegations made by Plaintiff and denies any wrongdoing or liability of any kind. Among other things, MBUSA contends that there is no defect in the installation or design of the roof-mounted air conditioning units and that it has not violated any law.

    The Court has not ruled in either party’s favor and, now that the parties have proposed a Settlement, the Court is instead analyzing whether a fair, reasonable, and adequate compromise is proposed.

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  2. What does the Settlement provide?

    If the Settlement becomes effective, five business days thereafter, MBUSA will extend the warranty on the original-equipment rear air conditioning units in model year 2010-2014 Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter 2500 and 3500 vehicles for covered water leaks to the first 7 years or 125,000 miles of the vehicle’s life, whichever occurs first. The extended warranty will also cover original equipment parts damaged by warranty-covered water leaks (e.g., vehicle headliner, upholstery, etc.) To receive a repair under the extended warranty, you need to present your vehicle to an authorized Sprinter Service Center within extended warranty period. You can find an authorized Sprinter Service Center here.

    If the Settlement becomes effective, five business days thereafter, MBUSA will also modify the “Maintenance Service/B-Service Sheet” checklist for the Subject Vehicles to include inspection of the interior roof in Subject Vehicles for water marks or other evidence of water infiltration near the rear air-conditioning.

    If the Settlement becomes effective, MBUSA has also agreed to reimburse reasonable and necessary costs you may have paid for repairs that would have been covered by the extended warranty, i.e., covered repairs within the first 7 years or 125,000 miles of the vehicle’s life, whichever occurs first. To be reimbursed, you must submit a Claim Form (available in the File Claim tab above) and attach copies of repair orders (or similar itemized invoices) and proof of payment. Please do not send originals. Acceptable proof of payment includes a receipt showing payment, cancelled checks, credit card statements, credit receipts, or other document showing payment. The claim form must be signed and made under penalty of perjury to be valid. If you do not timely submit a claim form, you will forgo your right to receive any reimbursement for your out-of-pocket costs arising from leaks in the rear air conditioning units.

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  3. Why is this lawsuit being settled?

    The Court has not decided in favor of Plaintiff or MBUSA. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement that they believe is a fair, reasonable, and adequate compromise of their respective positions. The parties reached this agreement only after long negotiations, many exchanges of information, and independent consideration of the risks and benefits of settlement through the assistance of an experienced Mediator.

    Class Counsel have considered the substantial benefits from the Settlement that will be given to the Participating Class Members and balanced these benefits with the risk that a trial could end in a verdict for MBUSA. They also considered the value of the immediate benefit to Participating Class Members versus the costs and delay of litigation through trial and appeals and the risk that a class would not be certified. Even if Plaintiff were successful in these efforts, Participating Class Members would not receive any benefits for years.

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  4. How do I know if I am part of this Settlement Class?

    In preliminarily approving the settlement, the Court defined the Settlement Class to include all current and former owners or lessees of model year 2010-2014 Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter 2500 or 3500 vehicles with original-equipment rear air conditioning units who purchased or leased their vehicles in the United States (“Subject Vehicles”).

    Excluded from the class are:
    1. persons who have settled with, released, or otherwise had claims adjudicated on the merits against MBUSA that are substantially similar to those alleged in this matter;
    2. persons with only personal injury, wrongful death or property damage claims to property other than the Subject Vehicles, fixtures installed in the vehicles, or cargo transported in the vehicles, as a result of the defects alleged;
    3. MBUSA employees;
    4. insurers or other providers of extended service contracts or warranties, and
    5. Judge Henderson and his family.

    If you are a Settlement Class Member, and you have filed or want to file your own lawsuit and not be part of this case, read Question 6 below. 

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  5. How do I participate in the Settlement?

    If the Court grants its approval of the settlement, you will not need to do anything to have your warranty extended and become eligible to receive covered future repairs at authorized Sprinter Service Centers. 

    Any claim for reimbursement of prior repair costs that accrued before May 2, 2016 must be submitted by September 29, 2016. (Unless you received a Notice specifying a later date.) Claims accruing on or after May 2, 2016, but before the date the settlement becomes effective, must be submitted within forty-five (45) days of the date accrued.

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  6. How will the Settlement affect my rights?

    If the settlement is approved, and you do not request exclusion as discussed in Question 7, you will release your claims as set out in Question 14 regardless of whether you present your vehicle for repair or submit a claim.

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  7. How do I request to be excluded from the Settlement?

    If you wish to be excluded from the settlement, you must write the Settlement Administrator at: P.O. Box 40007 College Station, TX 77842-4007, and request to be excluded. Your request to be excluded from the settlement must include:

    1. your full name;
    2. your current address and telephone number;
    3. the Vehicle Identification Number associated with the vehicle giving rise to standing to “opt out” and the dates of ownership for said vehicle;
    4. a dated signature; and
    5. a written statement that you have reviewed the Class Notice and wish to be excluded from the Settlement.

    To be effective, your request must be postmarked no later than June 16, 2016.
    (Unless you received a Notice specifying a later date.)

    If you do not complete and timely mail a valid request to be excluded from the settlement, you will be bound by all terms and conditions of the settlement, including its release of claims. If you do submit a timely and valid request to be excluded, you will not receive any of the benefits of the Settlement but you will retain the right to sue MBUSA about the legal claims raised in this lawsuit. 

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  8. May I object to the Settlement?

    You can ask the Court to deny approval by filing an objection. You can’t ask the Court to order a larger settlement; the Court can only approve or deny the settlement. If the Court denies approval, no settlement payments will be sent out and the lawsuit will continue. If that is what you want to happen, you must object.

    You may object to the proposed settlement in writing. If you timely do so, you may appear at the Final Approval Hearing (described in Question 15), either in person or through your own attorney. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for paying that attorney.

    Your objection must include:

    1. your full name, current address, and telephone number;
    2. the Vehicle Identification Number associated with the vehicle giving rise to standing to make an Objection, and the dates of ownership of said vehicle;
    3. a statement that you have reviewed the Settlement Class definition and understands that you are a Settlement Class Member, and have not opted out of the Settlement Class;
    4. complete statement of all legal and factual bases for any Objection that you wish to assert;
    5. a statement of whether you or your attorney intend to appear at the final approval hearing,
    6. copies of any documents or witnesses that support the objection, and
    7. a dated signature.

    Copies of all Objection documents must also be mailed to Class Counsel and Defense Counsel no later than the 45-day period from the date of Notice mailing.

    To be effective, your objection must be postmarked by June 16, 2016.
    (Unless you received a Notice specifying a later date.)

    Do not telephone the Court or MBUSA’s counsel.

    If your objection is overruled, you will be bound by the terms of the settlement. You will not be able to exclude yourself from the settlement thereafter.

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  9. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court has determined that the law firms of Chavez & Gertler LLP and The Veen Firm P.C. are qualified to represent you and members of the Class. These lawyers are called “Class Counsel.” Their contact information is given in Question 17.

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  10. May I get my own lawyer?

    You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel are working on your behalf. Nonetheless, you may hire your own lawyer if you wish. If you hire your own lawyer, you will be responsible for paying for that lawyer.

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  11. How will Class Counsel be paid?

    You do not have to pay Class Counsel’s fees and costs. The fees and expenses that the Court approves will be paid by MBUSA. Under the settlement, MBUSA has agreed to pay Class Counsel up to $1,000,000 as attorneys’ fees and costs. This is not money that would otherwise be distributed to the class.

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  12. What else does the Settlement provide?

    In class actions such as this one, a court may provide the class representative a “class representative service award” in recognition of the time, effort, and risks the class representative took to prosecute the class action. In the present case, Plaintiff reserves the right to request that the Court award him $5,000 given the time and effort expended responding to discovery and otherwise taking on the risks of prosecuting a class action.

    MBUSA has agreed to pay the reasonable costs to administer the Settlement. This cost will not reduce any amounts that MBUSA may reimburse Settlement Class Members or provide to Settlement Class Members under the extended warranty.

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  13. Will I have to pay taxes on my award?

    You should consult a tax professional for more information about your own specific situation.

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  14. What claims are being released as part of the Settlement?

    Upon final approval of this settlement, each class member will release and discharge MBUSA and its current and former parent companies, subsidiaries, and related or affiliated companies, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, partners, agents, representatives, attorneys, insurers, successors and assigns, from any and all claims that were or could have been pled as part of the litigation under the facts alleged therein. Excluded from this release are any claims for personal injury or wrongful death.

    For more information about the release, please refer to Section 6 of the Settlement Agreement, which is available for your review in the Case Documents tab above.

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  15. When will the Court consider whether to finally approve the Settlement?

    The Court will hold a hearing in Courtroom 12 of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, located at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA, 94102, on August 29, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., to decide whether to finally approve the Settlement. At that time, the Court will also decide whether to approve Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and costs, and the class representative service award.

    It is not necessary for you to appear at this hearing. If you have timely submitted an objection to the settlement and a notice of intent to appear, you may appear at the hearing to argue your objection to the Court. Any attorney who will represent you must file a notice of appearance with the Court and serve the objection and notice of appearance on Class Counsel and counsel for MBUSA, on or before June 16, 2016. You will be solely responsible for the fees and costs of your own attorney.

    The hearing may be postponed without further notice to the Class. If the settlement is not approved, the lawsuit will continue to be prepared for trial or other judicial resolution.

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  16. What if the proposed Settlement is not approved?

    If the Proposed Settlement is not granted final approval, the putative Settlement Class that has been preliminarily certified will be decertified, the class action will proceed without further notice, and none of the agreements set forth in the Class Notice will be valid or enforceable.

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  17. How do I get more information?

    This FAQ provides a summary of the basic terms of the Settlement. For the settlement’s complete terms and conditions, please consult the Settlement Agreement. You can access the Settlement Agreement and other documents in the case in the Case Documents tab above. You can also view the entire case file by visiting the clerk of the court located at 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102, or by contacting Class Counsel at the addresses provided below:

    CHAVEZ & GERTLER LLP
    Jonathan E. Gertler
    42 Miller Ave.
    Mill Valley, CA 94941
    Tel: (415) 381-5599
    Fax: (415) 381-5572
    THE VEEN FIRM P.C.
    Anthony L. Label
    711 Van Ness Ave, Suite 220
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Tel: (415) 673-4800
    Fax: (415) 771-5845

    If you have questions, you can contact the Settlement Administrator. The Settlement Administrator is a third party appointed by the Court to send notice to you about the Settlement. In the present case, the Court has appointed KCC/Gilardi to act as the Settlement Administrator. You may contact them about this case at:

    Digby Adler Group v Mercedes-Benz USA
    Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 40007
    College Station, TX 77842-4007.

    Please DO NOT telephone or write the Court, the Office of the Clerk, MBUSA, or MBUSA’s Counsel for information regarding this Settlement.

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