Margaret Stevens v. Britax Child Safety, Inc.

United States District Court Central District of California
Case No. 2:20-cv-07373-MCS-AS


Submit a Claim by August 10, 2022

Submit Claim



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS





BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Court authorized this Notice because you have a right to know about the proposed Settlement which resolves claims asserted against Britax in this class action Lawsuit and about your options before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement and if any appeal is filed, after such appeal is resolved, the Administrator will make the payments that the Settlement allows. If the Court approves the Settlement, and if any appeal is filed after any appeals are resolved, you will be bound by the Judgment and terms of the Settlement, unless you timely exclude yourself (“opt out”) from the Settlement.



In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of others who have similar claims. All of the people who have similar claims are a “class” or “class members” if the class is certified by the Court. Individual class members do not have to file a lawsuit to participate in the class action settlement or be bound by the judgment in the class action. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the class, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.



This Lawsuit is called Margaret Stevens v. Britax Child Safety, Inc., Case No. 2:20-cv-07373-MCS-AS and is pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division. U.S. District Judge Mark C. Scarsi is overseeing this class action Lawsuit.



In her complaint, Plaintiff states certain claims under various California consumer statutes against Britax based on allegations that two of Britax’s child car seats, the Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Seat, and the Pioneer Harness-2-Booster Seat (the “Class Child Seats”) are defective and “the structure surrounding the harness and the top tether are capable of detaching from the seat due to a failure in the hardware component that connects the harness to the steel frame.” Plaintiff claims that purchasers paid more for the Class Child Seats than they would have paid had they known about the defect or would not have purchased them at all. Plaintiff alleges that such conduct violated California state consumer and warranty laws.



Britax denies these allegations, denies any liability, and stands by the safety of the Class Child Seats. The Class Child Seats comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Britax asserts that no member of the Settlement Class, including the Plaintiff, or any other person has sustained any damages or injuries from any issue relating to these allegations.



The issuance of the Notice is not an expression of the Court’s opinion on the merit or the lack of merit of any of Plaintiff’s claims or Britax’s defenses in the lawsuit or who is right or wrong. The Court has not decided who is right or wrong. Instead, both sides have agreed to a Settlement to avoid the risk and cost of further litigation.



For information about what has happened in the Lawsuit to date, and about the additional litigation referenced herein, you can access the Settlement Agreement and other case documents on the Court Documents page

here.



The Class Child Seats are the Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Seat or Pioneer Harness-2-Booster Seat manufactured between August 14, 2016 and September 30, 2019. The Class Child Seats are those depicted in the photographs below:





The manufacturing date and serial number for the Class Child Seats can be located on the seat back on the left canopy.





The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiff or Britax. Instead, both sides have agreed to the Settlement. Both sides want to avoid the risk and cost of further litigation. Plaintiff and Class Counsel also believe that the Settlement is in the best interests of the Settlement Class.



The Court has decided that everyone who fits this description is a Settlement Class Member for purposes of the proposed Settlement:



All persons who when they were residents of California purchased for personal or household use, a new Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Seat or Britax Pioneer Harness-2-Booster Seat (the “Class Child Seats”), at any time from August 14, 2016 up to and including August 14, 2020 and the seat has a manufacturing date from August 14, 2016 to no later than September 30, 2019.



Excluded from the Class are: (a) Britax and its board members, executive-level officers, attorneys, and immediate family members of any such persons; (b) governmental entities; (c) the Court, the Court’s immediate family, and the Court staff; (d) any person who purchased a Class Child Seat that caused an injury or death or any person asserting a claim for injury or wrongful death as a result of the use of a Class Child Seat; and (e) any person who timely and properly excludes himself or herself from the Class.



If you are not sure if you are included in the Settlement Class, please review the detailed information contained in the Settlement Agreement, available for download

here.

You may also contact the Administrator at BritaxBoosterseatSettlement@cptgroup.com or call toll-free at 1-888-412-2198.



THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT

The Settlement provides a $40 cash payment to Settlement Class Members. Known Class Members, who are those persons who registered their seat purchases with Britax or who Britax has contact information for, will receive a cash payment without having to submit a Claim Form. Unknown Class Members, who are those persons who Britax does not have any information confirming their purchase of a Class Child Seat, must submit a valid Claim Form on or before August 10, 2022 to receive a cash payment of $40. Without admitting liability, Britax has also agreed to make certain disclosures to the Settlement Class as described below in Section 9.



If the Court approves the Settlement, Britax will pay cash payments of $40 each to Settlement Class Members for each Class Child Seat purchased. The estimated amount Britax will pay in cash payments to Settlement Class Members is based on the number of Known Class Members and an estimated number of Unknown Class Members. There are approximately 21,097 Known Class Members and approximately 45,608 Unknown Class Members. In addition, Britax will also pay Settlement administration and notice costs, any Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses awarded to Class Counsel by the Court, and any Service Award to Plaintiff ordered by the Court.



In the event that between 80% and 100% of the Known Class Members cash their checks, any residual value due to uncashed checks will revert to the Defendant.



If less than 80% of the Known Class Members cash their checks, Defendant shall pay the value of any uncashed checks up to 80% of the Known Class Members’ settlement value to Safe Kids Worldwide®.



In addition, Britax has agreed to the disclosure in FAQ 9 below to provide information to Settlement Class Members regarding the Class Child Seats.



If you are a Known Class Member, you do not need to submit a Claim Form. You will automatically receive a cash payment of $40 mailed to your address. If you need to update your address, please contact the Administrator at 1-888-412-2198 or email BritaxBoosterseatSettlement@cptgroup.com.



If you are an Unknown Class Member, to make a Claim and receive a cash payment, you must complete and submit a Claim Form online at www.BritaxBoosterSeatSettlement.com by August 10, 2022, or by mail postmarked by August 10, 2022 to Britax Booster Seat Settlement, c/o CPT Group, Inc., 50 Corporate Park, Irvine, CA 92606.



Britax through the Notice and through publication, as a part of the Settlement, Settlement Class Members to a Consumer Reports article regarding product reviews and testing done by Consumer Reports on the Class Child Seats. That article describing the Class Child Seats and Consumer Report’s in-house testing protocol can be found at this location: https://www.consumerreports.org/toddler-booster-seats/child-car-seats-from-britax-cosco-graco-harmony-break-in-consumer-reports-tests. Britax’s response to the Consumer Reports article can be found at: https://us.britax.com/press/archive/october-16-2018-official-statement-2018-consumer-reports-harness-2-booster-test-ratings.



Unless you exclude yourself, you will remain in the Settlement Class. Remaining in the Settlement Class means that you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Britax that makes claims based on the facts and legal theories alleged in this Lawsuit. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. The Released Claims are detailed in the Settlement Agreement available

here.



If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the Settlement Class and be bound by the Settlement. However, if you are an Unknown Class Member and you do not submit a Claim, you will not receive a payment and you will be bound by the Settlement.



Plaintiff will request a Service Payment of up to $3,000 for her services as Class Representative and her efforts in bringing the Lawsuit. The Court will make the final decision as to the amount to be paid to the Plaintiff.



If you are a Known Class Member, or if you are an Unknown Class Member and submit a Claim Form by August 10, 2022, and the Court approves the Settlement and orders payment to Settlement Class Members, you will receive payment about 60 days after the Court grants Final Approval of the Settlement, if no one files an appeal challenging the Settlement. If an appeal is filed payment will be delayed until the appeal is resolved. Please note as stated above Known Class Members do not need to submit a Claim Form to receive payment.



THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

The Court has appointed (1) Gretchen Nelson and Gabriel Barenfeld of Nelson and Fraenkel LLP, Christine Spagnoli of Greene Broillet and Wheeler LLP and Troy Rafferty of Levin, Papantonio, Rafferty, Proctor, Buchanan, O’Brien, Barr and Mougey. P.C. as Class Counsel. Their contact information is below:



NELSON and FRAENKEL LLP

Gretchen M. Nelson


Gabriel S. Barenfeld


601 So. Figueroa Street, Suite 2050


Los Angeles, CA. 90017


gnelson@nflawfirm.com


gbarenfeld@nflawfirm.com




GREENE, BROILLET and WHEELER LLP

Christine D. Spagnoli


222 N. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 2100


P.O. Box 955


El Segundo, CA 90245


cspagnoli@gbw.law




LEVIN, PAPANTONIO, RAFFERTY, PROCTOR, BUCHANAN, O’BRIEN, BARR and MOUGEY, P.C.

Troy Rafferty


316 S. Baylen Street, Suite 600


Pensacola, FL 32502-5996


trafferty@levinlaw.com




You do not need to hire a lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf.



If you wish to pursue your own lawsuit separate from this one, or if you exclude yourself from the Settlement, these lawyers will no longer represent you. You will need to hire a lawyer if you wish to pursue your own lawsuit against Britax.



Class Counsel intend to seek up to 25% of the Settlement value for their attorneys’ fees and up to $25,000 for reimbursement of expenses. The Settlement value is the amount paid out by Britax to both Known Class Members and Unknown Class Members. The Court will make the final decision as to the amounts to be paid to the Class Counsel and may award amounts different than the requested amounts. If awarded, these amounts will be paid by Britax and the amount paid will not reduce the amount of the cash payment that Settlement Class Members will receive. You will not under any circumstances have to pay any fees or expenses if you are a Settlement Class Member and do not exclude yourself from this Lawsuit.



HOW TO EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT

If you are a member of the Settlement Class, do not want monetary benefits, and do not want to be legally bound by the terms of the Settlement, you must exclude yourself (or opt out) from the Settlement Class. If you wish to pursue your own separate lawsuit against Britax based on the claims that will be released in this Lawsuit, you must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.



This requires submitting a written request to the Administrator stating your intent to exclude yourself from the Settlement. Your Request for Exclusion must include the following: (1) your name, address, and email address; (2) your physical signature; (3) the name and number of this Lawsuit (i.e., Margaret Stevens v. Britax Child Safety, Inc., Case No. 2:20-cv- 07373-MCS-AS); and (4) a statement that you wish to be excluded from the Settlement Class for purposes of this Settlement. Requests made on behalf of more than one Settlement Class Member are not allowed. You may also download a Request for Exclusion Form from the website, complete that form and mail it to the Administrator.



You must mail your Request for Exclusion to the following address:



SETTLEMENT ADMINSTRATOR

Britax Boster Seat Settlement


c/o CPT Group, Inc.


50 Corporate Park


Irvine, CA 92606




You may also email your Request for Exclusion as an attachment to an email, to the following address: BritaxBoosterseatSettlement@cptgroup.com.



Requests for Exclusion must be postmarked by or emailed by August 10, 2022.



If you submit a valid written request to be excluded from the Settlement Class, you will not be a part of the Settlement, you will not be eligible to receive a payment if you are a Known Class Member or to make a claim for payment if you are an Unknown Class Member (as described in Section 8 above), will not be bound by the Final Approval Order and Final Judgment entered in the Lawsuit, and will not be precluded from bringing any other claim against Britax based on the conduct complained of in the Lawsuit. If you submit both a Request for Exclusion and an Objection to the Settlement (as described in Section 18 below), your Objection will not be considered and you will be deemed to have requested exclusion from the Settlement.



No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Britax for any claims that are released by the Settlement. If you have a current lawsuit against Britax, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately to determine whether you must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class to continue your own lawsuit against Britax.



HOW TO OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT

If you are a Settlement Class Member and have not excluded yourself from the Settlement, you can ask the Court to deny approval by filing an objection. You can’t ask the Court to order a different settlement; the Court can only approve or reject this Settlement. If the Court denies approval, no settlement payments will be sent out and the Lawsuit will continue. If that is what you want to happen, you must object. In addition, you can object to Class Counsel’s request for Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses and the request by Plaintiff for a Service Award.



Any objection to the proposed Settlement or to Class Counsel’s request for Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses or the request by Plaintiff for a Service Award must be in writing. If you file a timely written objection, you may, but are not required to, appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either in person or through your own attorney. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for hiring and paying that attorney. All written objections and supporting papers must (a) clearly identify the case name and number (Margaret Stevens v. Britax Child Safety, Inc., Case No. 2:20-cv-07373-MCS-AS), (b) be submitted to the Court either by mailing them to the Clerk, United States District Court for the Central District of California, Edward R. Roybal Federal Building, 255 East Temple Street, Room 180, Los Angeles, CA 90012, or by filing them in person at the foregoing location, and (c) be filed or postmarked on or before August 10, 2022. You must also serve a copy of the objection on the Administrator by mailing it postage prepaid and dated by August 10, 2022, to the address below:





SETTLEMENT ADMINSTRATOR

Britax Boster Seat Settlement


c/o CPT Group, Inc.


50 Corporate Park


Irvine, CA 92606




Your Objection should include: (1) your name, address, and email address and signature and date of the objection; (2) the case name and number (Margaret Stevens v. Britax Child Safety, Inc., Central District of California, Case No. 2:20-cv-07373-MCS-AS); (3) all grounds for the objection, including all citations of legal authority and evidence supporting the objection; (4) the name and contact information of all attorneys representing, advising, or in any way assisting you in connection with the preparation or submission of the objection, who must enter an appearance with the Court in accordance with the Local Rules; and (5) a statement indicating whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing (either personally or through attorney).



If you do not timely make your objection, you will be deemed to have waived all objections and will not be entitled to speak at the Final Approval Hearing.



Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement or to Class Counsel’s request for Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses or Plaintiff’s request for a Service Award, while remaining in the Settlement Class and being subject to the Settlement. You can object only if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class, or the Lawsuit.



If you exclude yourself, you are no longer a member of the Settlement Class and you do not have a right to share in the Settlement’s proceeds or to object because the Settlement no longer affects you.



FINAL APPROVAL HEARING

The Court has preliminarily approved the Settlement and will hold a hearing to decide whether to give final approval to the Settlement on November 21, 2022, at 9:00 a.m., at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division, First Street Courthouse, Courtroom 7C, 7th Floor, 350 West First Street, Los Angeles, California 90012. At the Final Approval Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate to Settlement Class Members. The Court will also consider whether to approve the requested award of Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses for Class Counsel, and service award for Plaintiff. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. The Court will then issue decisions on these issues; we do not know how long those decisions will take.



Please note that the Final Approval Hearing may take place by video conference only. If this is the case, instructions on how to join the video conference for the Final Approval Hearing will be posted on the Settlement Website prior to the hearing.



Also please note that the date of the final approval hearing may change without further notice to the Settlement Class. You should check the Settlement Website or the Court’s PACER site at https://ecf.cacd.uscourts.gov to confirm that the date has not been changed.



No. Class Counsel will attend the Final Approval Hearing and answer any questions the Court may have. However, you are welcome to participate at your own expense. If you file an objection, you do not have to come to the Final Approval Hearing to talk about it. As long as you submitted your written objection by August 10, 2022, in accordance with the instruction in the Notice the Court will consider it. You may also pay your lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.



You may ask to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. If you wish to attend and speak at the Final Approval Hearing you are free to do so, whether or not you file an objection, or whether you wish to comment or speak in support of the Settlement.



To speak at the hearing, you may request to do so at the Final Approval Hearing, or by filing a “Notice of Intention to Appear” with the Court prior to the Final Approval Hearing. Such requests must (a) clearly identify the case name and number (Margaret Stevens v. Britax Child Safety, Inc., Case No. 2:20-cv-07373-MCS-AS), (b) be submitted to the Court either by mailing them to the Clerk, United States District Court for the Central District of California, Roybal Federal Building, 255 East Temple Street, Room 180, Los Angeles, CA, 90012, or by filing them in person at the foregoing location. You can also indicate that you wish to speak at the Final Hearing in your written objection. If you plan to have your attorney speak for you at the hearing, your objection should also include your attorney’s name, address, and telephone number.



If you have submitted a Request for Exclusion from the Settlement, however, you may not speak at the Final Approval Hearing because the Settlement no longer affects you.



GETTING MORE INFORMATION and UPDATING INFORMATION

This Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement and does not cover all the issues and proceedings that have occurred. For the precise terms and conditions of the Settlement, please see the Settlement Agreement, which can be found, along with other important documents and information about the status of the Lawsuit on the Court Documents page. You may also contact the Administrator at BritaxBoosterseatSettlement@cptgroup.com or toll-free at 1-888-412-2198, or Class Counsel.



To see the complete file for the Lawsuit, you may access the Court docket in this case, for a fee, through the Court’s PACER system at https://ecf.cacd.uscourts.gov, or by visiting the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Roybal Federal Building, 255 East Temple Street, TS-134, Los Angeles, CA. 90012 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.



PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT OR THE CLAIM PROCESS.



If you change your postal or email address, it is your responsibility to inform the Administrator of your updated information. You may do so either by mail or email at the addresses below:



SETTLEMENT ADMINSTRATOR

Britax Boster Seat Settlement


c/o CPT Group, Inc.


50 Corporate Park


Irvine, CA 92606


BritaxBoosterSeatSettlement@cptgroup.com




PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT REGARDING THIS NOTICE.