(Berwyn, PA) On July 28, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland granted final approval to the proposed class action settlement in Jackson, et al. v. Viking Group, Inc., et al., No. 8:18-cv-02356-PJM (D. Md.). The settlement resolves claims regarding those Viking VK457 fire sprinklers sold between January 1, 2013, and March 31, 2015 (referred to as “Subject Sprinklers”). Plaintiffs allege that these products, which mainly were used in residential buildings, are defective and can activate in the absence of a fire.
"This settlement is an outstanding result for class members. Significantly, it offers a nationwide replacement program at no cost to property owners," said Joe Sauder of Sauder Schelkopf LLC, who serves as Class Counsel. "We are pleased that Viking is taking the appropriate action through this significant settlement and we look forward to having the program implemented."
The settlement is valued in excess of $30 million and provides for (1) a Replacement Remedy where Settlement Class Members may choose to have Subject Sprinklers replaced with a Viking VK494 fire sprinkler or a reasonably equivalent Viking fire sprinkler of equal or greater quality, and (2) an Activation Remedy for non-fire sprinkler activations occurring within a defined time period that will pay 70% of reasonably proven and unreimbursed reasonable costs incurred to (a) remediate water damage and/or repair or replace damaged property, (b) cover reasonable material and labor costs, and (c) cover alternative lodging and meals for those displaced by a non-fire activation. Replacement Claims must be submitted by February 27, 2020. Activation Claims must be submitted within 180 days after the non-fire activation.
The Settlement Class is defined as "All Persons that currently or at any time previously have owned a residential or commercial structure in the United States while it contains or contained Subject Sprinklers or while the structure sustained water damage from a non-fire activation of a Subject Sprinkler, including their spouses, joint owners, heirs, executors, administrators, mortgagees, residents, tenants, creditors, lenders, predecessors, successors, trusts and trustees, and assigns ("Occupant Persons"); as well as all Persons who have standing and are entitled to assert a claim on behalf of any such Occupant Persons, such as, but not limited to, a builder, contractor, installer, distributor, seller, subrogated insurance carrier, or other Person who has claims for contribution, indemnity or otherwise against Viking based on claims for a non-fire activation of a Subject Sprinkler with respect to such residential or commercial structures. The Settlement Class includes all Persons who subsequently purchase or otherwise obtain an interest in a property covered by this Settlement without the need of a formal assignment by contract or court order." There are certain exclusions to the Settlement Class that are detailed on the settlement website at www.vk457sprinklersettlement.com.