NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On January 3rd, 2020, Judge Joan B. Gottschall of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted final approval to the proposed settlement of multidistrict litigation brought on behalf of plaintiff truck owners and lessees alleging that Navistar, Inc. and Navistar International, Inc. sold or leased 2011-2014 model year vehicles equipped with certain MaxxForce 11- or 13-liter diesel engines that had a defective EGR emissions system. Judge Gottschall concluded that the parties’ class action settlement is a fair, reasonable, and adequate resolution of plaintiffs’ claims.
Lieff Cabraser partner Jonathan D. Selbin, one of three co-lead counsel appointed by the Court to represent the plaintiffs, stated, “I am happy that after so many years, the many small business trucking companies affected can look forward to receiving compensation.”
The plaintiffs alleged that the trucks’ defect caused breakdowns and engine damage. After nearly four years of discovery and more than a year of negotiations with the assistance of a mediator, the parties reached the class-wide $135 million settlement now approved by the Court. Further details and information on the claims process can be found on the settlement website at https://www.maxxforce11and13.com/. All owners and lessees of affected vehicles must file their claims by May 11, 2020.
Adam J. Levitt of DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC, who also serves as co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in the litigation, noted, “I am pleased the court recognized the value of the settlement and result we obtained for the plaintiffs.”
The Settlement Class is defined as: All entities and natural persons who owned or leased a 2011-2014 model year vehicle equipped with a MaxxForce 11- or 13-liter engine certified to meet EPA 2010 emissions standards without selective catalytic reduction technology, provided that vehicle was purchased or leased in any of the fifty (50) States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or any other United States territory or possession.
The Settlement provides that Class Members can choose from three forms of relief for each Class Vehicle they own(ed) or lease(d): up to $2,500 cash or up to $10,000 rebate on a new Navistar truck with mere proof of ownership/lease, or up to $15,000 for documented costs relating to the alleged defect. The Court noted that if the settlement had not been reached, the defendants planned to “vigorously contest” class certification, and that plaintiffs’ chances at trial “would have been uncertain, as evidenced by the mixed record of prior jury verdicts regarding this same alleged defect.”
The Court also noted that the nationwide settlement would be superior to an alternative of many individual lawsuits, in part because class members who owned a small number of affected vehicles might not have suffered sufficient damages to justify the costs of expensive, expert-heavy litigation. The Court further wrote that if the smaller number of members of the proposed Class with higher potential damages won significant verdicts, they might deprive remaining Class Members of compensation. “The nationwide Settlement ensures that all Class Members will have the opportunity to be compensated,” it concluded.