Frequently Asked Questions
- What is this lawsuit about?
- Why is this a class action?
- Why is there a settlement?
- How do I know if I am part of the settlement?
- What Toshiba model Satellite notebooks are included?
- Are there exceptions to being included in the settlement?
- What if I am not sure whether I am included in the settlement?
- What does the settlement provide?
- How can I get a cash refund or a credit voucher for a cracking-related problem that I had in the past?
- What claims against TAIS am I releasing?
- Do I have a lawyer in this case?
- How will the lawyers be paid?
- What do I do if I do not want to be included in the settlement?
- What happens if I didn’t opt out before May 17, 2010?
- How do I tell the Court that I like or don’t like the settlement?
- When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
- Do I have to come to the hearing?
- May I speak at the hearing?
- What happens if I do nothing at all?
- How do I get more information?
The people who filed the class action are called the “plaintiffs” and TAIS is the “defendant.” A lawsuit filed in federal court in California, captioned Atherton v. Toshiba Am. Info. Sys., Inc., Case No. CV 08-02141 AG (MLGx) (C.D. Cal.), claims that TAIS sold certain Satellite notebook computers that contained a manufacturing or design defect that rendered the computers unduly prone to cracking on the plastic housing surrounding the hinges. Plaintiffs assert legal claims on behalf of themselves and all members of the “Settlement Class,” defined below. Those claims include claims that TAIS violated the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the California deceit by concealment law, and the California Unfair Competition Law, and that TAIS breached express and implied warranties to purchasers of the notebooks. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. TAIS denies these claims and charges, as well as any wrongdoing in the sale, distribution or marketing of Toshiba Satellite brand notebooks. In settling this action, TAIS has agreed to provide cash refunds, cash payments or credit vouchers to certain qualifying owners of these Subject Model Notebooks. More information can be found by writing to Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel, Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP (“LAC”) at 50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 900, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, or by calling 1 (866) 697-5557. A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available on this website, and is also on file with the Court.
In a class action, one or more person(s) called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of those with similar claims. All of these people together are called a “Class,” and individually, are called “Class Members.” The Court appointed plaintiffs as Class Representatives for purposes of this settlement. One court resolves all of the factual and legal issues for all of the Class Members, except for those who specifically and timely ask to be excluded from the Class. The “Settlement Class Members” are all people who purchased one of the Subject Model Notebooks between April 1, 2000 and March 12, 2010, and who did not properly or timely exercise their rights to opt out of the settlement.
The Court did not decide in favor of either plaintiffs or TAIS. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the uncertainty and cost of a trial, and those included in the Settlement Class and others will get an opportunity to claim a refund, cash payment or a credit voucher, as applicable. The Class Representatives and the attorneys appointed by the Court to represent the Class believe that the settlement is in the best interests of all Settlement Class Members.
You are entitled to settlement benefits if you purchased or acquired as new one of the following Subject Model Notebooks at any time between April 1, 2000 and March 12, 2010: 1000, 1005, 1100, 1105, 1110, 1115, 1130, 1135, 1200, 1715, 1730, 1735, 1750, 1755, 1955, 3000, and 3005. Certain owners of those models will be able to receive cash refunds for certain repairs made to their notebooks and/or a cash payment or a credit voucher towards future purchases on www.toshibadirect.com. Please see below to determine whether you qualify for such benefits.
Owners of other Satellite models not identified in the preceding paragraph are not included in the settlement and are not entitled to any settlement benefits. Also, persons who submitted a claim to TAIS as part of the Voluntary Satellite Hinge Remediation Program offered by TAIS from November 8, 2007 to March 31, 2008, whose claim was accepted, and who deposited, cashed, redeemed, or otherwise used a check or a credit voucher issued by TAIS under the Remediation Program are not included in the Settlement Class.
If you leased your Satellite notebook from or to someone else, you may be entitled to settlement benefits. That will depend on whether the person or business from or to whom you leased the notebook also seeks to obtain settlement benefits. Only one person is entitled to benefits for each notebook. Thus, TAIS will provide the benefits to the first person to submit a claim for that notebook.
Any of the following models of Satellite notebook computers: 1000, 1005, 1100, 1105, 1110, 1115, 1130, 1135, 1200, 1715, 1730, 1735, 1750, 1755, 1955, 3000, and 3005.
Persons who submitted a claim and release to TAIS as part of the Voluntary Satellite Hinge Remediation Program offered by TAIS from November 8, 2007 to March 31, 2008, whose claim was accepted by TAIS, and who deposited, cashed, redeemed, or otherwise used a check or credit voucher from TAIS under the Program are not included in the Settlement Class. TAIS and its officers, directors, employees, and attorneys are not included in the Settlement Class. Federal judges and their families are also excluded.
If you are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement Class, you may call The Garden City Group, Inc. at 1 (866) 697-5557 or LAC at (404) 577-1777, and ask for assistance.
Certain qualifying owners of the Subject Model Notebooks will be eligible to receive cash refunds of up to $225 for each repair made to remedy cracking on the plastic housing surrounding the hinges, including cracking of the hinges themselves, on their notebooks. Other qualifying owners of the Subject Model Notebooks will be eligible to receive a cash payment of $50 or a $150 credit voucher for future purchases at www.toshibadirect.com. Please see below to determine whether you qualify for such a refund.
Not every owner of a Subject Model Notebook will qualify for settlement benefits. Persons who submitted a claim to TAIS as part of the Voluntary Satellite Hinge Remediation Program offered by TAIS from November 8, 2007 to March 31, 2008 and who deposited, cashed, redeemed, or used a check or credit voucher from TAIS under the Program are not eligible for settlement benefits.
There are two different categories of settlement benefits available to qualifying owners of Subject Model Notebooks: a Repair Category and a Non-Repair Category. The Repair Category provides cash reimbursement, up to a limit of $225 per repair, for certain repairs that you may have had made to a Subject Model Notebook for cracking on the plastic housing surrounding the hinges. The Non-Repair Category provides a choice between a $50 cash award and a $150 credit voucher towards future purchases made on www.toshibadirect.com, if your Subject Model Notebook experienced cracking on the plastic housing surrounding the hinges, regardless of whether or not you had the notebook repaired for that purpose.
Repair Category: Proof of ownership or possession and proof of repair requirements to be eligible for a cash refund of monies expended to repair cracking of the plastic housing surrounding the hinges, including cracking of the hinges themselves on a Subject Notebook, vary depending upon your individual history regarding steps taken by you to have the Subject Notebook repaired. Please see Question 10 of the Notice to determine the proof of purchase and proof of repair requirements applicable to your situation.
If you had a Subject Model Notebook repaired because of cracking of the plastic housing surrounding the hinges (or cracking of the hinges themselves), but the repair was not performed by TAIS or an ASP, you are ineligible to participate in the Repair Category. You may, however, participate in the Non-Repair Category described below.
Non-Repair Category: Unless you fall into one of the exceptions discussed in question 10 of the Notice, you must show proof of ownership or possession and proof that your Subject Model Notebook experienced cracking of the plastic housing surrounding the hinges (or cracking of the hinges themselves) to be eligible to receive your choice of either a $50 cash payment, or a $150 credit voucher to be used for future purchases made on www.toshibadirect.com. The credit vouchers, which will be disseminated within 90 days of the Claims Bar Date, will expire nine months after the date that they have been mailed, and will no longer be valid after that date. You may not transfer a credit voucher to anyone; if you do, and that person tries to use the voucher, it will not be recognized. You can also only use a single credit voucher one time, and may purchase no more than two separate items with the voucher on that one occasion.
If you are eligible to receive settlement benefits in both the Repair Category and the Non-Repair Category, you can claim benefits under each category. (In other words, you may have had a Subject Model Notebook repaired to correct cracking of the plastic housing surrounding the notebook’s hinges, and you later experienced similar cracking on the replacement cover.) If you choose to do so, however, you must still follow the proof requirements applicable to each category. You must also attach to your claim form an affidavit, certification, declaration, or other written statement, attesting under penalty of perjury that any photograph submitted as proof of cracking of the plastic housing surrounding the notebook’s hinges (or cracking of the hinges themselves) was taken after the initial repair took place.
If you are a Settlement Class Member when the settlement becomes final -- even if you don’t claim the benefits described above -- you will be releasing TAIS and its officers, directors, employees, and related corporate entities, from any liability for all claims associated with this case, and you will be bound by the release included in the Settlement Agreement. A copy of the Settlement Agreement containing the release is available on this website. The release states, in pertinent part:
“Effective as of the Settlement Effective Date, and in consideration of this Agreement and the benefits extended to the Settlement Class, Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and the Settlement Class Members, and each Settlement Class Member, on behalf of himself or herself and his or her respective successors, assigns, past, present, and future parents, subsidiaries, joint venturers, partnerships, related companies, affiliates, unincorporated entities, divisions, groups, directors, officers, shareholders, employees, agents, representatives, servants, partners, executors, administrators, assigns, predecessors, successors, descendants, dependents, and heirs, fully release and forever discharge the Released Parties from the Released Claims.”
Yes. LAC and other Plaintiffs’ Counsel represent you and the other Settlement Class Members. The Court has appointed LAC as Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel for the lawsuit. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
Plaintiffs’ Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees and expenses up to $900,000. The Court may award a different amount. TAIS has agreed not to oppose Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s request for these fees and expenses. TAIS will separately pay the fees and expenses that the Court awards, as well as the costs to provide notice to the Settlement Class and to administer the settlement. These amounts will not come out of the funds for benefits to Settlement Class Members and others. No Settlement Class Member will pay anything.
The deadline to exclude yourself from the settlement was May 17, 2010.
If you opted out of the Settlement Class, you will not be eligible for any settlement benefits.
If the proposed settlement is approved and you are a Settlement Class Member who did not properly and timely exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, all claims that you may have now or in the future against TAIS with respect to cracking of the plastic housing surrounding the hinges (or cracking of the hinges themselves) on Subject Model Notebooks will be WAIVED AND RELEASED, and you will be prohibited from bringing any such claims in the future on your own behalf, as provided in the Settlement Agreement.
The deadline to object to the settlement was May 3, 2010. If you are represented by your own separate counsel, that attorney also needed to file his or her appearance with the Court by May 4, 2010.
If you filed an objection to the settlement with the Court, you waived all rights to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing before the Honorable Andrew J. Guilford at 10:00 a.m. on May 24, 2010 in Courtroom 10D of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, 411 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana, California. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court also may decide how much to pay Plaintiffs’ Counsel. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to grant final approval of the settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
No. Plaintiffs’ Counsel will answer any questions that Judge Guilford may have. However, you are welcome to come at your own expense. You also may pay your own lawyer to attend the Fairness Hearing on your behalf. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to discuss it. As long as your written objection is received before the deadline, and you have followed the directions above, the Court will consider everything that you have to say.
That will be up to Judge Guilford. You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in Atherton v. Toshiba Am. Info. Sys., Inc., Case No. CV 08-02141 AG (MLGx)” You must include your name and address, as well as the name, address and telephone number of any attorney who will appear at the Fairness Hearing on your behalf. Your request must also indicate that you timely objected to the Settlement pursuant to the directions above.
Your letter must also identify the Subject Model Notebook that you purchased or acquired as new (by serial and model number), the date of your purchase or receipt of the notebook, the State where you purchased the notebook, the amount of your purchase, and the amount of any repair made to your notebook for cracking of the plastic housing surrounding the notebook’s hinges (or cracking of the hinges themselves). You must also include your signature and the specific reasons why you wish to speak at the Fairness Hearing, as well as any ground(s) for your objection.
Your Notice of Intention to Appear must have been filed with the Clerk of the Court at the address listed above no later than May 4, 2010.
If you do nothing, you will be a member of the Settlement Class. You will not get any cash refunds, cash payments or credit vouchers. Moreover, any and all claims you have relating to cracking of the plastic housing surrounding the notebook’s hinges (or cracking of the hinges themselves) in the Subject Model Notebooks will be released.
If you think you may be a Settlement Class Member or may have purchased a Subject Model Notebook and would like more information about the lawsuit or the terms of the proposed settlement, you may review the pleadings, records and other papers on file in this lawsuit, including the Court’s Order regarding the Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement and the proposed Settlement Agreement, which may be inspected on weekdays, during normal business hours, at the Clerk’s Office, United States District Court for the Central District of California, 411 West Fourth Street, Room 1053, Santa Ana, California. The Preliminary Approval Order and Settlement Agreement are also be available on this website. For information on any matters contained on this website, you may write to or call plaintiffs’ counsel, LAC, at 50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 900, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, or call 1 (866) 697-5557.
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT DIRECTLY WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT.