|HYUNDAI OCS CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT CENTER|
|FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS|
|What is this lawsuit (Kearney v. Hyundai) about?
The lawsuit claimed that certain vehicles involved in this lawsuit suffered from a defect in the Occupant Classification System, or OCS, which is part of the advanced air bag system of certain Hyundai vehicles. The lawsuit claimed that the OCS would not consistently recognize certain small-statured adults as adults, causing the passenger-side air bag to be deactivated (i.e, unavailable to deploy in the event of an accident) when such persons occupied the front passenger seat. HMA denied the claims.
Prior to the lawsuit, HMA launched a recall and recalibration program for 2006-2008 Sonata vehicles. Plaintiffs believed that HMA’s recalibration did not completely address the extent of the issues with the OCS and did not cover enough vehicles. HMA denied that the recall was insufficient.
The Court in charge of the case is the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and the case is known as Christopher Kearney, et al. v. Hyundai Motor America, Case Number SACV09-01298 JST(MLGx). U.S. District Court Judge Josephine S. Tucker is in charge of this class action.
What happened on December 17, 2012?
The Court created a settlement class and preliminarily approved the settlement of the lawsuit as being fair, reasonable, and adequate to class members.
Who is in the class?
Judge Tucker has decided that the Class Members shall be everyone who (i) resides in the District of Columbia or one of the fifty (50) states of the United States and (ii) is a current owner of one of the “Class Vehicles” listed below, except that the following are excluded from the Class: (i) government entities; (ii) federal court judges assigned to this case and their spouses and certain family members; and (iii) persons who have previously executed a release (or settlement agreement containing a release) with HMA regarding a claim of OCS malfunction at issue in this Settlement. The Class Vehicles are: · Model year 2006-2008 Hyundai Sonata vehicles.
· Model year 2007-2009 Hyundai Santa Fe vehicles produced from April 19, 2006 to July 7, 2008.
· Model year 2006-2009 Hyundai Azera vehicles.
What if I received a recall letter already?
Starting in 2008, HMA mailed recall notices to current owners of 2006-2008 Sonata vehicles. In addition, starting in September 2012, HMA mailed recall notices to current owners of 2007-2009 Santa Fe vehicles. If you received a recall notice from HMA, you may still be a member of the Class unless you take the steps to exclude yourself (see below). If you received a recall notice from HMA and you exclude yourself, you can still take advantage of the recall previously offered by HMA, but you will not have the right to share in the other benefits offered in this Settlement.
I’m still not sure if I am included?
If you are still not sure whether you are included in this class, you can ask for free help. You can call 1-877-277-0012 and ask whether your vehicle is included in the Settlement. You will need to have your Vehicle Identification Number (“VIN”) ready. The VIN is located on a placard on the bottom of the driver’s side corner of the windshield.
What can I get from the settlement?
Under HMA’s 2008 recall program, HMA offered to recalibrate, at the customer’s request, the OCS on model year 2006 through 2008 Sonata vehicles. Under HMA’s 2012 recall program, HMA offered to provide an updated OCS calibration on model year 2007 through 2009 Santa Fe vehicles. The Settlement provides additional information for Class Members, and provides additional relief for Class Members who remain unsatisfied with their OCS. The following table summarizes the Settlement benefits (assuming that the Settlement receives final court approval):
How can I participate in the Settlement?
If you want to be eligible to receive the benefits offered under this Settlement, then you do not need to do anything at this time. You can check on the progress of the Settlement by periodically visiting this website.
When would I get my Settlement benefits? The Court will hold a hearing on June 7, 2013, at 2:30 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 411 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701-4516, Courtroom 10A, to decide whether to approve this Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement after that, there may be appeals. It’s always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps even more than a year. You may continue to check on the progress of the Settlement by visiting this website. The informational pamphlets described above will be mailed to Class members only after the Settlement has been approved by the Court and all appeals, if any, are finally resolved. During the time period in which the Settlement is being reviewed by the Courts, members of the Class owning Sonata and Santa Fe model vehicles may obtain the recall recalibrations for their vehicles if they so wish.
What am I giving up to stay in the Class and receive a benefit?
Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against HMA, Hyundai Motor Company and/or certain affiliated companies and people about the legal issues in this case if the Settlement is approved. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.
However, nothing in this Settlement will prohibit you from pursuing claims for: (i) personal injury; (ii) damage to property other than to a Class Vehicle; or (iii) any and all claims that pertain to anything other than a Class Vehicle.
How do I get out of the Settlement?
If you don’t want to participate in this Settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Hyundai, on your own, about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out. This is called excluding yourself—or it is sometimes referred to as opting out of the Class. How to exclude yourself is described below. To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter by mail saying that you want to be excluded from the Settlement. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, your signature, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of your vehicle (which is located on a placard on the bottom of the driver’s side corner of the windshield), and refer to the case Christopher Kearney, et al. v. Hyundai Motor America, Case Number SACV09-01298 JST(MLGx). You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than May 10, 2013 to:
Hyundai OCS Class Action Settlement Center
P.O. Box 8080
Fountain Valley, CA 92728-8080
You can’t exclude yourself on the phone or by e-mail. If you ask to be excluded, you will not qualify for any of the Settlement benefits, and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will also not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) HMA, Hyundai Motor Company and their affiliates in the future. If you received a separate recall notice from HMA about the voluntary recall of your vehicle, then you may participate in that recall (assuming you qualify) even if you exclude yourself from the Settlement. While your exclusion from the Settlement will not affect your right to participate in the voluntary recall, you will not be entitled to share in the added benefits that this Settlement provides.
If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue Hyundai for the same thing later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue HMA, Hyundai Motor Company and their affiliates for the claims that this Settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. Remember, the exclusion deadline is May 10, 2013.
If I exclude myself, can I get benefits from this Settlement?
No. If you exclude yourself, you will not be eligible for benefits under the Settlement. But you may sue, continue to sue, or be part of a different lawsuit against HMA, Hyundai Motor Company and/or their affiliates. In addition, if you have previously received a separate recall notice from HMA about the voluntary recall of your vehicle, then you may participate in that recall (assuming you qualify) even if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.
Do I have a lawyer in the case?
The Court has asked Robert B. Carey and Steve W. Berman of the law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, L.L.P. to represent you and the Class. Together, the lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
How will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees and expenses of no more than $993,000, and a payment of $2,500 for each of the four Class Representatives, Christopher Kearney, Nancy Kearney, Charles Moore, and Shari Moore. The Court may award less than this amount. HMA will separately pay the fees and expenses that the Court awards. HMA will also separately pay the costs to administer the Settlement. Class Counsel will file a Motion for Attorneys’ Fees, Litigation Costs and Expenses, and Class Representatives’ Enhancement Award no later than April 25, 2013, 15 days before the date by which you must mail your exclusion request, or object to the settlement’s terms.
How do I tell the Court that I don’t like the Settlement?
You can tell the Court that you don’t agree with the Settlement or some part of it. If you stay in the Class, you can object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You should give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must send a letter saying that you object to the Settlement in Christopher Kearney, et al. v. Hyundai Motor America, Case Number SACV09-01298 JST(MLGx). Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, your signature, and the reasons you object to the Settlement. Mail the objection to these three different places postmarked no later than May 10, 2013:
What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you cannot object because the case no longer affects you. The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement. You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you don’t have to.
When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on June 7, 2013, at 2:30 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 411 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701-4516, Courtroom 10A, to consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. Judge Tucker will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court may also decide how much Class Counsel should be paid. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take. The hearing may be rescheduled without further notice.
Do I have to come to the hearing?
No. Class Counsel will answer questions Judge Tucker may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send a written objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.
May I speak at the hearing?
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 Christopher Kearney, et al. v. Hyundai Motor America, Case Number SACV09-01298 JST(MLGx).” Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be postmarked no later than May 10, 2013, and be sent to the Clerk of the Court, Class Counsel, and Defense Counsel, at the three addresses listed above. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself.
What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you do nothing at this time, you will remain in the Class and be eligible for the benefits offered by the Settlement. But, if you do not exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against HMA, Hyundai Motor Company, or their affiliates about the legal issues in this case, ever again.
Are there more details about the Settlement?
More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can download a copy of the Settlement Agreement on this website.
How do I get more information?
If this website does not contain the information you are looking for, you can also call toll-free at 1-877-277-0012. You may also contact the Class Counsel listed above. The Motion for Attorneys’ Fees, Litigation Costs and Expenses, and Class Representatives’ Incentive Award (which will be filed no later than April 25, 2013, which is 15 days before the date by which you must mail your exclusion request, or object to the settlement’s terms) will be available for review as part of the Court’s files in this matter at the Clerk of the Court’s Office or via the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (“PACER”) system at https://ecf.cacd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/ShowIndex.pl.