Sylvania agrees to $30M settlement in headlight class action

Kyla Asbury Sep. 26, 2014, 10:27am

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - Osram Sylvania Inc. has agreed to a $30 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging it falsely claimed its headlights were superior and lured customers into overpaying.

The settlement provides substantial monetary and injunctive relief to the class, according to the settlement document filed July 11 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

After deduction of administration and notice costs; attorneys fees and expenses; and the class representatives' incentive awards, eligible class members will be entitled to a pro rata share of the settlement fund, the settlement document states.

"The anticipated recovery for each eligible class member is $10, representing a substantial recovery for the class," the document states. "Eligible class members may receive additional compensation if the claims administrator issues a secondary distribution pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement."

On Sept. 22, 2011, Imran Chaudhri filed a complaint against Osram Sylvania Inc. and Osram Sylvania Products Inc. alleging unjust enrichment, misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and breach of express warranty, according to the settlement document.

On Jan. 9, 2012, Chaudhri filed an amended complaint alleging that Sylvania misled and deceived consumers regarding the performance characteristics of its premium automotive lighting. He claimed Sylvania also omitted material information regarding the lighting's lifespan.

On Feb. 13, 2012, Sylvania moved to dismiss the complaint and on June 14, 2012, District Judge Susan D. Wigenton only dismissed the claim for unjust enrichment and allowed all other claims to proceed.

A first mediation was held was held between January and April and a second mediation settlement was held on May 7-8. The second mediation was resulted in an agreement.

Chaudhri, Deidra Ross, Richard Smith, Larry Byrd, David Christopher, Derek Hahn and Lee S. Kelly may seek incentive awards in the aggregate amount of up to $25,000 to be paid from the gross settlement fund

Attorneys must file an application for attorneys fees and costs by Jan. 9.

The plaintiffs are represented by Barry R. Eichen of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy LLP; and John E. Keefe Jr. of Keefe Bartels LLC.

Sylvania is represented by David C. Kistler and Stephen M. Orlofsky of Blank Rome LLP.

A fairness hearing is scheduled for March 20.

The case is assigned to District Judge Madeline C. Arleo

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey case number: 2:11-cv-05504

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