US Courts Bust Canon For Planned Obsolescence, Affects 35 Printer

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US Courts Bust Canon For Planned Obsolescence, Affects 35 Printer

 news 2015-06-18 at 2:21:56 pm Views: 888
  • #42803
    US Courts Bust Canon For Planned Obsolescence, Affects 35 Printer Models
    Canon Settles Proposed Printer Defect Class Action

    By Jody Godoy
    Law360, New York (June 16, 2015, 12:40 PM ET) — Canon USA Inc. agreed on Monday to settle a proposed class action in New York federal court over claims that its Pixma printers have a defect that renders the hardware completely useless, often not long after the one-year warranty runs out.

    The consumer electronics maker approved a deal in which it would pay $930,000 to issue $50 cash or $75 store voucher payments to consumers who bought a printer that displayed a “wrong print head” error message and then stopped working, and which Canon did not then repair. Customers who bought one of the millions of allegedly affected 35 models of printers will have their warranties extended by nine months to cover the single problem.

    Class counsel will be able to ask for up to $370,000 in attorneys' fees, and class representatives may receive up to $250 according to the settlement.

    The initial suit was filed in May 2014 in New York federal court and later consolidated with two other proposed class actions, one in New York and one in Texas, in August.

    In an amended complaint filed in September, the three named plaintiffs alleged that Canon knew about the problem with the printers displaying the “U052” error. The company refused to foot the bill for repairs to printers that faltered after the 12-month warranty period, leaving customers to pay for repairs that were often more costly than the original device, according to the complaint.

    Canon’s customers could “reasonably expect” that their printers would survive well past the one-year warranty, and Canon should have known that the defect would render that warranty period “grossly inadequate,” the plaintiffs said.

    The plaintiffs brought their claims under New York, California and Virginia consumer protection laws and California's unfair business practices statute, and alleged Canon had violated express and implied warranties and been unjustly enriched by hiding the printer flaw.

    In a letter to the court in October, Canon had argued that the suit should be dismissed because the plaintiffs failed to state their claims adequately and relied on anonymous posts on the Internet to allege the problems went beyond the printer each of them had bought. The company asked for a conference to contemplate a motion to dismiss but never filed the motion.

    If the settlement goes through and there are more eligible claimants than the fund can pay the $50 cash or $75 Canon online store vouchers, claimants will receive a proportionate amount of the settlement. The most common suggested retail price for the allegedly defective printers was $200, with prices ranging from $80 to $750, according to the settlement.

    Counsel for the parties and representatives for Canon did not reply to requests for comment.

    The plaintiffs are represented by Benjamin F. Johns and Joseph B. Kenney of Chimicles & Tikellis LLP, William B. Federman of Federman & Sherwood and Robert Ira Harwood of Harwood Feffer LLP.

    Canon is represented by Richard H. Silberberg of Dorsey & Whitney LLP.

    The case is In Re Canon Inkjet Printer Litigation, case number 2:14-cv-03235, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

    –Additional reporting by Lance Duroni. Editing by Rebecca Flanagan.