Real estate managers who own or owned commercial or residential buildings in which a fire sprinkler system using Poz-Lok was installed may be eligible to receive payment if their piping has leaked, according to a court-approved consumer notification program launched today. Poz-Lok piping can be identified by several of its distinctive features. It is comprised of thin-walled galvanized steel pipe, ductile iron rubber gasketed fittings and a “U”-shaped locking fitting.
The reimbursement program is a result of a multimillion-dollar settlement of a class action suit previously certified by Federal District Judge Jeremy Fogel of the Northern District of California. The suit alleges that Poz-Lok piping is defective and prone to premature corrosion, which leads to leaking.
The settlement provides up to $14.5 million, funded by the defendants and their insurers over the next 18 years, to reimburse them and pay the expenses associated with the class action. Class Members may submit a claim if their Poz-Lok piping has leaked or leaks over the next 15 years. Class members may choose a one-time payment of $500; otherwise, any payment depends upon an inspection and proof of a qualifying leak in accordance with defined criteria, and will be made according to a schedule based on the date of installation of the pipe and when it began leaking.
Defendants have denied all allegations. Potential Class Members nationwide will be notified about the reimbursement program by mail, advertising and through the Internet over the course of the next several months.
The Court will determine if the settlement is fair and reasonable in proceedings scheduled for June 7, 2004. Those Class Members who wish to remain within the Class need not take action now. They will be bound by the Court’s rulings and represented by current Class Counsel. Those Class Members who wish to exclude themselves must do so in writing not later than May 21, 2004. In order to object to the settlement, a Class Member must send a written objection postmarked no later than May 21, 2004.
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