*NEWS*EPSON SETTLES LAWSUITS ON INK-CTGS
*NEWS*EPSON SETTLES LAWSUITS ON INK-CTGS
2006-04-19 at 12:37:00 pm #14987
Epson America to Settle Class-Action Lawsuits
Seiko Epson Corp.’s Epson America unit will give consumers $45 toward the purchase of printers or ink cartridges to settle class-action lawsuits.The settlement resolves suits in California, Texas and New York that claimed Epson America printers would say prematurely that ink-jet cartridges were empty. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge gave preliminary approval to the settlement.Consumers will get a $45 credit per printer toward the purchase of products at Epson’s website. The total value of the settlement wasn’t disclosed.
Torrance-based Epson America didn’t admit liability.
Class Counsel and Epson America Announce Class Action Settlement
LOS ANGELES, April 06– Epson America, Inc. (“Epson America”) and the law firms of Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP and Chitwood Harley Harnes LLP jointly announced today that a settlement of a class action lawsuit relating to Epson inkjet cartridges has been preliminarily approved by the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. The lawsuit and settlement terms are described in full at the class administrator’s website, http://www.epsonsettlement.com/.
Lead counsel for the class are Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP with offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Newport Beach, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, and Chitwood Harley Harnes LLP, with offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Great Neck, New York. The class is also represented by the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, Los Angeles-based McNicholas & McNicholas LLP, The Ball Law Firm, LLP, and Jacobson, Russell, Saltz & Fingerman, LLP, and Dobrowski L.L.P of Houston, Texas.
The settlement resolves lawsuits filed in California, New York and Texas based on various legal theories relating to the performance and other characteristics of Epson inkjet printer cartridges. Among other things, plaintiffs alleged that a substantial amount of ink remains in Epson inkjet cartridges when the Epson printers for which they are designed indicate that the cartridges are “empty,” and suspend printer operation. Epson America denies these allegations and maintains that an ink safety reserve ensures print quality and reliability. The Court has not ruled on these allegations but Epson America has agreed to settle the action.
Under the terms of the settlement, the settlement class — consisting of all persons or entities located within the United States who purchased or otherwise acquired an Epson brand inkjet printer between April 8, 1999 and May 8, 2006 — will receive a $45 per-printer credit for Epson America’s online E-Store which may be used to buy replacement inkjet cartridges or any other product sold at the E-Store. The credit will be provided automatically to every class member who has already registered a printer with Epson America and to those who register a qualifying printer within 90 days after the final approval of the settlement. Alternatively, class members may reject the credit and mail in a claim form to receive either: (a) a check from Epson America in the amount of $25 and a $20 credit at Epson America’s E-Store; or (b) a 25% discount off purchases at the Epson America E-Store, to a maximum discount of $100. Class members who do not wish to register with Epson America may also receive any of the three forms of alternative settlement benefits by mailing in the same claim form.
The settlement does not require any changes in Epson’s printer technology, but Epson America will make changes to its product packaging and software in order to clarify that when the printer signals that a cartridge must be replaced a variable amount of ink remains. Epson America’s web site will also display language explaining why there is an ink safety reserve.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees (the amount of which has not yet been determined) will be determined by the Court and will be paid by Epson America separate from, and in addition to, the other settlement benefits provided to the class.
Gregory Keller said, “It is our hope that this settlement will set a new high water mark in consumer class actions, not only with regard to the amount of the benefit class members receive, but also with regard to the ease with which those benefits may be obtained. Printer owners who have registered their printers with Epson America will automatically receive a $45 credit to be used in the Epson E-Store. Printer owners who have not registered may do so under the settlement to receive their E-Store credit.” Added Brian Kabateck of Kabateck Brown Kellner, “The $45 credit is simply an outstanding result for the Class. The $45 benefit means some Class members may obtain up to three replacement ink cartridges for each printer they have registered with Epson, and, in doing so, provides the relief that we sought in the lawsuit, to restore ink to customers.”
Susan Aledort, Epson America’s Senior Counsel, explained, “We are pleased to have resolved these lawsuits to avoid costly litigation and focus on our business of providing high value products to professionals and consumers. We already communicate a great deal of information to users about the performance of Epson ink cartridges and welcome the opportunity provided by this settlement to further explain Epson’s technologies and the performance of our ink cartridges, including the technological reasons for the ink safety reserve.”
A final approval hearing has been scheduled for August 15, 2006, following mail and publication notice of the settlement to Class members.