As we previously reported, the Stutman Firm was involved in the Uponor class action in the District of Minnesota (In re: Uponor, Inc., F1807 Plumbing Fittings Products Liability Litigation) in order to protect subrogated carriers’ rights. For ease of reference, Stutman’s first alert concerning the Uponor litigation can be found here. The lawsuit involved plumbing systems manufactured by Radiant Technology, Inc. and Uponor, Inc. (collectively, “RTI Defendants”) which contain brass fittings that are allegedly prone to premature cracking and dezincification. Stutman’s efforts in the litigation ensured that the District Court’s Order approving the class settlement adequately serves the interests of subrogated carriers by explicitly permitting carriers to submit their own claims without the participation of their insureds.
The District Court approved the Uponor settlement via Orders dated June 29, 2012 and July 9, 2012 with the exact language proposed by the Stutman Firm. However, be advised that a Notice of Appeal was filed by an objector in California. Because there is now a pending appeal, the Settlement Agreement has not yet become effective. Accordingly, class members cannot yet file claims and/or receive payments pursuant to the claims process outlined in the Settlement Agreement.
Even though we expect that the Appeal will be denied, rest assured that your rights will not be adversely affected during the Appeal. Although you are still not permitted to file a Uponor claim in litigation, the filing of the class action tolled the statute of limitations on individual claims within the scope of the class. Thus, causes of action will be preserved during the course of the litigation and appeal. If the appeal is denied, the effective date of the Settlement will not begin until the time of the denial. Conversely, if the Settlement is invalidated, you will have a significant time period to bring your action in litigation even if the statute on your claim has already technically expired. In other words, carriers will not lose their ability to pursue claims as a result of the appeal.1
The Stutman Firm will continue monitoring the appeal and will provide you with further information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions concerning the Uponor litigation, claims process or pending appeal, please do not hesitate to contact Hal Kleinman in Stutman’s Mass Tort Unit at KleinmanH@StutmanLaw.com or 215-283-1177 ext. 118.