Simerlein et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation et al., Class Action Settlement Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions

Answers

1. What is the Notice about?

Answer:

A Court authorized the Notice because you have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit and about all of your options and associated deadlines before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement.  The name of the lawsuit is Simerlein, et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-01091-VAB (D. Conn.).  The defendants are Toyota Motor Corp., Toyota Motor North America, Inc., Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc., and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc. (“Toyota”).  The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.  You are NOT being sued.  The Court still has to decide whether to finally approve the Settlement.  Please be patient and check this website regularly.  Please do not contact the Court. All questions should be directed to the Settlement Notice Administrator, identified below.

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2. What is the lawsuit about?

Answer:

The class action lawsuit claims that the sliding doors in certain Sienna vehicles are defective.  The lawsuit pursues claims for violations of various state consumer protection statutes, among other claims.  You can read the class action complaint located in the Important Documents section of this website.  Toyota denies that it has violated any law, denies that it engaged in any wrongdoing, and denies that there is any defect with respect to the sliding doors in certain Toyota Sienna vehicles.  The parties agreed to resolve these matters before these issues were decided by the Court. 

This Settlement does not involve claims of personal injury, wrongful death, or actual physical property damage arising from an accident involving the Subject Vehicles.


Simerlein, et al. v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al.


On June 30, 2017, plaintiff Ned Simerlein (“Simerlein”) filed a class action complaint against Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor North America, Inc., Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc., and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc. (the “Simerlein Defendants”) in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.  Simerlein et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-01091-VAB (D. Conn.).  Simerlein asserted class claims under Connecticut’s consumer protection statute (the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”)) and the consumer protection statutes of various other states, express and implied warranty claims, a claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act on behalf of a proposed nationwide class, and unjust enrichment arising from the manufacture and sale of 2011-2017 Toyota Sienna minivans equipped with power sliding rear doors, which Simerlein alleged were defective.

On October 6, 2017, Simerlein, along with additional named plaintiffs James Eckhoff, Marciel Lopez, John F. Prendergast, and Craig Kaiser (together with Simerlein, the “Simerlein Plaintiffs”) filed an amended complaint asserting the state law claims of the additional plaintiffs and making additional allegations against the Simerlein Defendants.

On October 31, 2017, the Simerlein Defendants submitted an unopposed motion for an extension of time to respond to the amended complaint.  On November 1, 2017, the Court granted this motion and set December 4, 2017 as the deadline for the Simerlein Defendants to file their motion to dismiss the amended complaint, January 22, 2018 as the deadline for the Simerlein Plaintiffs to respond to the motion, and February 21, 2018 as the deadline for the Simerlein Defendants to file a reply.  The Court further ordered the parties to file a joint case management report, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(f), no later than December 20, 2017.

On December 4, 2017, the Simerlein Defendants filed their motion to dismiss the amended complaint.

On December 20, 2017, as directed by the Court, the parties submitted their joint case management report.

On January 5, 2018, counsel for the parties appeared before the Court for a telephonic status conference pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 16.  On January 12, 2018, the Court issued a scheduling order that, among other things, set December 21, 2018 as the deadline for the completion of fact discovery, and August 2, 2019 as the deadline for the completion of all briefing and expert discovery in connection with Plaintiffs’ intended class certification motion.

On January 22, 2018, the Simerlein Plaintiffs filed their opposition to the motion to dismiss the amended complaint, and, on February 21, 2018, the Simerlein Defendants filed their reply in further support of their motion.

On February 27, 2018, the Simerlein Plaintiffs filed a motion to strike portions of the Simerlein Defendants’ reply, or, in the alternative, for leave to file a sur-reply memorandum.  The Simerlein Defendants filed an opposition to this motion on February 28, 2018.  On August 1, 2018, the Court granted the Simerlein Plaintiffs’ motion to file a sur-reply and directed the Simerlein Plaintiffs to file their sur-reply memorandum, which was done that same day.  The motion to dismiss is fully briefed.

On August 24, 2018, the Court continued the hearing on the motion to dismiss to September 27, 2018.

On September 25, 2018, the Court granted the parties’ request to adjourn the argument on the motion to dismiss and set a telephonic status conference for November 15, 2018. 

On November 7, 2018, the Court granted the parties’ joint motion to reschedule the telephonic status conference to December 12, 2018. 

In crafting their pleadings and responding to the Simerlein Defendants’ motion to dismiss, counsel for the Simerlein Plaintiffs conferred extensively with their independent automotive engineering consultant.

The Simerlein Defendants have provided confirmatory and informal discovery consisting of over 100,000 pages of internal Toyota documents.  In addition, Class Counsel interviewed a Toyota engineer who is knowledgeable about the Sienna vehicles and parts at issue as part of confirmatory and informal discovery.

On December 7, 2018, Class Counsel filed a Second Amended Class Action Complaint in this Court. In the new complaint, plaintiffs added the 2018 model year to the Sienna vehicles at issue.


Combs/Franklin, et al. v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al.


On June 23, 2017, plaintiffs Tonya Combs, James Tinney, Melissa Jugo Tinney, Crystal Gillespie, Melissa Stalker and Joseph C. Harp Jr. (collectively, the “Combs/Franklin Plaintiffs,” with the later additions noted below) filed a class action complaint against defendants Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. (the “Combs/Franklin Defendants”) in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.  Combs, et al. v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al., Case No. 2:17-cv-04633-VAP-AFM (C.D. Cal.) (“Related Action”).  The Combs/Franklin Plaintiffs asserted class claims under various states’ consumer protection statutes, express and implied warranty claims, a claim under the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act on behalf of a proposed nationwide class, fraudulent omission, and unjust enrichment arising from the manufacture and sale of 2011-2017 Toyota Sienna minivans equipped with power sliding rear doors, which the Combs/Franklin Plaintiffs alleged were defective.

On October 6, 2017, the Combs/Franklin Plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint which added Jennifer Franklin, Jordan Amrani, Dillen Steeby, and Paula McMillin as plaintiffs, asserted additional state law claims on their behalf, and included additional allegations against the Combs/Franklin Defendants.  On November 2, 2017, the court approved a stipulation setting December 4, 2017 as the deadline for the Combs/Franklin Defendants to respond to the first amended complaint.

On January 16, 2018, the Combs/Franklin Plaintiffs filed their second amended complaint naming Raymond and Rosario Alvarez, Karen Eason, and Jennifer Sowers as additional plaintiffs and  removing Tonya Combs as a plaintiff.  The second amended complaint asserted state law claims on behalf of the new plaintiffs and included additional allegations against the Combs/Franklin Defendants. 

On February 20, 2018, the Combs/Franklin Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the second amended complaint.  On April 20, 2018, the Combs/Franklin Plaintiffs filed their opposition to the motion, and, on May 25, 2018, the Combs/Franklin Defendants filed their reply in further support of the motion.  The motion to dismiss is fully briefed. 

On July 20, 2018, the court continued the hearing on the motion to dismiss to September 24, 2018.

On September 21, 2018, the court continued the hearing on the motion to dismiss to November 19, 2018.

On November 9, 2018, the court granted the parties’ stipulation to reschedule the hearing on the motion to dismiss to December 17, 2018. 

In crafting their pleadings, counsel for the Combs/Franklin Plaintiffs conferred extensively with their independent automotive engineering consultant.

The Combs/Franklin Defendants have provided informal discovery which, as discussed above, counsel for the Combs/Franklin Plaintiffs together with counsel with the Simerlein Plaintiffs have reviewed.

The Combs/Franklin Defendants have provided confirmatory and informal discovery consisting of over 100,000 pages of internal Toyota documents. In addition, Class Counsel interviewed a Toyota engineer who is knowledgeable about the Sienna vehicles and parts at issue as part of confirmatory and informal discovery.

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3. What vehicles are included in the Settlement?

Answer:

The model year 2011-2018 Toyota Sienna vehicles (called the “Subject Vehicles”) distributed for sale or lease in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and all other United States territories and/or possessions are included in the Settlement.

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4. Why is this a class action?

Answer:

In a class action, people called “class representatives” sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims.  All of these people together are the “Class” or “Class Members” if the Court approves this procedure.  Once approved, the Court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

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5. Why is there a settlement?

Answer:

Both sides in the lawsuit agreed to a Settlement to avoid the cost and risk of further litigation, including a potential trial, and so that the Class Members can get benefits, in exchange for releasing Toyota from liability.  The Settlement does not mean that Toyota broke any laws or did anything wrong, and the Court did not decide which side was right.  This Settlement has been preliminarily approved by the Court, which authorized the issuance of the Notice.  The Class Representatives and the lawyers representing them called Plaintiffs’ Counsel, including Class Counsel, believe that the Settlement is in the best interests of all Class Members.

The essential terms of the Settlement are summarized in th Notice.  The Settlement Agreement along with all exhibits and addenda sets forth in greater detail the rights and obligations of the parties.  If there is any conflict between this Notice and the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Agreement governs.

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6. How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?

Answer:

You are part of the Settlement if you are a person, entity or organization who, at any time as of March 1, 2019, own or owned, purchase(d) or lease(d) Subject Vehicles distributed for sale or lease in any of the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and all other United States territories and/or possessions. This is called the “Class.” 

Excluded from the Class are: (a) Toyota, its officers, directors and employees; its affiliates and affiliates’ officers, directors and employees; its distributors and distributors’ officers, directors and employees; and Toyota Dealers and Toyota Dealers’ officers and directors; (b) Plaintiffs’ Counsel; (c) judicial officers and their immediate family members and associated court staff assigned to this case; and (d) persons or entities who or which timely and properly exclude themselves from the Class as provided in the Settlement Agreement.


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7. I'm still not sure if I'm included in the Settlement

Answer:

If you are not sure whether you are included in the Class, you may call 1-833-305-3915. Please do not contact the Court. All questions should be directed to the Settlement Notice Administrator at the number above.

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8. What does the Settlement provide?

Answer:

If you are a Class Member, what you are eligible to receive depends on several factors.  The Settlement benefits are outlined generally below, and more information can be found on this Settlement website.  The Court still has to decide whether to finally approve the Settlement.  Toyota may, in its sole discretion and after consultation with Class Counsel, begin to offer the Customer Confidence Program, pursuant to the terms of this Settlement Agreement, upon entry of the Preliminary Approval Order by the Court.   However, no benefits have to be provided until and unless the Court finally approves the Settlement and only after any appeal period expires or any appeals are resolved in favor of the Settlement.  We do not know when the Court will finally approve the Settlement if it does so or whether there will be any appeals that would have to be resolved in favor of the Settlement before certain benefits would be provided, so we do not know precisely when any benefits may be available.  Please check this website regularly for updates regarding the Settlement.

Please note that you may have to take action within certain deadlines to receive certain benefits, such as completing and submitting a Claim Form for reimbursement of eligible out-of-pocket expenses.  If you do nothing, you may not receive certain benefits from the Settlement, and, as a Class Member, you will not be able to sue Toyota about the issues in the lawsuit.

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9. What am I giving up in exchange for the Settlement benefits?

Answer:

If the Settlement becomes final, Class Members who do not exclude themselves from the Class will release Toyota from liability and will not be able to sue Toyota about the issues in the lawsuit. The Settlement Agreement at Section VII describes the released claims in necessary legal terminology, so read it carefully. The Settlement Agreement is available on the Important Documents section of this website.  You can talk to one of the lawyers listed in Question 13 below for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer at your own expense if you have questions about the released claims or what they mean.

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9. Customer Confidence Program

Answer:

Subject to the language two paragraphs above, if the Settlement is finally approved, for Class Members who still own or lease their Subject Vehicles, the Customer Confidence Program will be implemented.  The Customer Confidence Program will provide prospective coverage for repairs to the following sliding door parts but only those repairs that are related to internal functional concerns of the following parts that impede the closing and opening operations of the sliding door in manual and power modes:

(i) Sliding Door Cable Sub-Assembly for All Subject Vehicles:  The duration of prospective coverage for the sliding door cable sub-assembly will begin following the date of Final Order and Final Judgment and run for ten (10) years from the date of First Use of the Subject Vehicle.[1] 

(ii) Sliding Door Center Hinge Assembly for All Subject Vehicles:  The duration of prospective coverage for the sliding door center hinge assembly will begin following the date of Final Order and Final Judgment and run for ten (10) years from the date of First Use of the Subject Vehicle. 

(iii) Fuel Door Pin and Fuel Door Hinge for All Subject Vehicles:  The duration of prospective coverage for the fuel door pin and hinge will begin following the date of Final Order and Final Judgment and run for ten (10) years from the date of First Use of the Subject Vehicle. 

(iv) Sliding Door Front Lock Assembly:  For model year 2017–2018 Subject Vehicles and for certain model year 2016 Subject Vehicles to which the current Warranty Enhancement Program ZH4 does not apply, the duration of prospective coverage for the sliding door front lock assembly will begin following the date of Final Order and Final Judgment and run for ten (10) years from the date of First Use.  For model year 2011–2015 Subject Vehicles and for certain model year 2016 Subject Vehicles to which the Warranty Enhancement Program ZH4 applies, the current Warranty Enhancement Program ZH4, which is applicable for nine years from the Subject Vehicle’s date of First Use, will be extended by one additional year.

(v) Sliding Door Rear Lock Assembly:  For model year 2016–2018 Subject Vehicles and for certain model year 2015 Subject Vehicles to which the current Warranty Enhancement Program ZH5 does not apply, the duration of prospective coverage for the sliding door front lock assembly will begin following the date of Final Order and Final Judgment and run for ten (10) years from the date of First Use.  For model year 2011–2014 Subject Vehicles and for certain model year 2015 Subject Vehicles to which the Warranty Enhancement Program ZH5 applies, the current Warranty Enhancement Program ZH5, which is applicable for nine years from the Subject Vehicle’s date of First Use, will be extended by one additional year.

(vi) G04 Recall Remedy Kit for Model Year 2011–2016 Subject Vehicles:  The G04 Recall Remedy Kit is subject to a one-year replacement part warranty under the terms of the G04 Recall.  Pursuant to this Agreement’s Customer Confidence Program, this one-year warranty will be extended an additional one year – for a total of two years – from the date the G04 Recall Remedy was or is performed.  If the G04 Recall Remedy was performed more than one year prior to the date of entry of the Final Order and Final Judgment, then the Customer Confidence Program will provide an additional one year of coverage for the G04 Recall Remedy Kit from the date of entry of the Final Order and Final Judgment. 

Toyota shall provide a Loaner Vehicle, if requested, to eligible Class Members whose Subject Vehicles are undergoing a repair pursuant to the Customer Confidence Program. You are eligible to receive a Loaner Vehicle if your Subject Vehicle is undergoing a repair covered by the Customer Confidence Program that will exceed four hours to complete. In appropriate circumstances, where you have a demonstrated need for a Loaner Vehicle similar to the Subject Vehicle, Toyota, through its dealers, shall use good faith efforts to satisfy the request.

Pursuant to the Customer Confidence Program, if you have a concern about your Subject Vehicle’s sliding doors, you may have your Subject Vehicles’ sliding doors inspected by an authorized Toyota Dealer at no cost to you, pursuant to the terms of this paragraph.  Each Subject Vehicle is eligible for one such Sienna Sliding Door Functional Inspection within one year from the date of entry of the Final Order and Final Judgment.    Pursuant to this paragraph and upon a Class Member’s request to an authorized Toyota Dealer to inspect a Subject Vehicle’s sliding doors, the Toyota Dealer will inspect the Subject Vehicle’s sliding doors based on the following Inspection Protocol:

STEP 1. Using Techstream, perform a Health check. 

Are ANY current Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) for the power sliding door stored?

YES — Record stored DTCs, then continue to step 2.
NO — Continue to step 2.                                                            

STEP 2. Check the sliding door operation with power ON. 

Check to see if the sliding door can be fully opened and close.

YES — Then continue to step 3.
NO — Confirm the power slide door is getting power. Continue to step 3.

STEP 3. Check the sliding door operation with power OFF. Turn the power sliding door OFF by pushing the main switch.

a) Check to see if the sliding door can be fully opened and close.

YES — Proceed to step 3b.
NO — Inspect upper Fuel Lid hinge for separation. If separated, replace Fuel Lid, then continue to the next step.

b) Check the sliding door in manual operation by opening and closing the door repeatedly. Feel for indications of abnormal conditions (e.g., damaged slide door cable or seized PSD center hinge bushing).

Question 1: Is door difficult to slide open and closed?

YES — Inspect slide door cable assembly for damage or breakage. Also inspect or seized PSD center hinge bushing. Replace as needed.
NO — Continue to question 2.

Question 2: Are door latch functions inoperative when the door is at closing position?

YES — Then proceed to the Front. Lock Assembly and Striker Replacement procedure.
NO — Continue to step 4.  

STEP 4. Check the data list for half and full latch switch ON/OFF conditions using Techstream. Is switch operation abnormal? 

YES — Proceed to the Rear Lock Assembly Replacement procedure.
NO — Confirm to step 5.

STEP 5. Using Techstream, perform a final Health Check.

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10. Out-Of-Pocket Claim Reimbursement

Answer:

If the Settlement is finally approved, including resolving any appeals in favor of upholding the Settlement, you can ask to be reimbursed if you previously paid for expenses incurred to repair a condition that is covered by the Customer Confidence Program that were not otherwise reimbursed and were incurred prior to March 1, 2019.  To be eligible for reimbursement, you must submit a Claim Form and the expenses must have been incurred prior to March 1, 2019.

The Claim Form is available on this website.

You must submit your Claim Form and any supporting documentation, if available, for prior paid repair expenses for a covered condition to the Settlement Notice Administrator.  The deadline to submit Claim Forms is sixty (60) days after the Court issues the Final Order and Final Judgment, which will occur, if approved, after the Fairness Hearing. 

The Settlement Claims Administrator will determine whether Claim Forms are complete and timely.  If your Claim is deficient, the Settlement Notice Administrator will mail you a letter requesting that you complete and/or correct the deficiencies and resubmit the Claim Form within sixty (60) days.  If  you fail to provide the requested documentation or information, your Claim will be denied.

The Settlement Claims Administrator will review your Claim Form and other Claims that are submitted and determine if reimbursement is owed.  Review of Claims should be completed within ninety (90) days of receipt, but this review period is not required to begin any earlier than sixty (60) days after the Final Effective Date.

If the Claim is rejected for payment, in whole or in part, the Settlement Claims Administrator shall notify Class Counsel and Toyota’s Counsel of said rejection of Class Member’s Claim and the reason(s) why.  The decision of the Settlement Claims Administrator shall be final; provided, however, that Class Counsel and Toyota’s Counsel may meet and confer to resolve any denied Claims.  If Class Counsel and Toyota jointly recommend payment of the Claims or payment of a reduced claim amount, then Toyota’s Counsel shall inform the Settlement Claims Administrator, who shall instruct Toyota to pay said Claims.  If Class Counsel and Toyota’s Counsel disagree, they shall notify the Settlement Claims Administrator who shall make a final determination as to whether the Claim shall be paid.

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12. When will I get paid for a submitted claim?

Answer:

If your Claim is accepted for payment, the Settlement Claims Administrator will use its best efforts to pay your Claim within ninety (90) days after receipt of the Claim, as long as that date occurs after the Settlement is finally approved and all appeals, if any, are resolved in favor of upholding the Settlement.

Important:  In order to receive reimbursement for a Claim, eligible Class Members must complete and submit the Claim Form during the Claim Period, which shall run from March 1, 2019 up to and including sixty (60) days after the Court’s issuance of the Final Order and Final Judgment, which will occur after the Fairness Hearing, which is currently scheduled for June 4, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

You can complete and submit a Claim Form online, or alternatively, you can obtain a Claim Form from the Important Documents section of this Settlement website, print it out, complete it, and mail it on or before up to and including sixty (60) days after the Court’s issuance of the Final Order and Final Judgment, which will occur after the Fairness Hearing, which is currently scheduled for June 4, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time to the Settlement Notice Administrator in Simerlein, et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al., (D. Conn.), c/o Toyota Settlement Notice Administrator, PO Box 230, Philadelphia, PA 19105-0230. If you previously incurred expenses to repair a condition that is covered by the Customer Confidence Program, the only way to be reimbursed is to timely submit a Claim Form and any supporting documentation that is available.


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13. If I exclude myself, can I get anything from this Settlement?

Answer:

If you exclude yourself, you do not get Settlement benefits and you will not be bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.  If you ask to be excluded, you cannot object to the Settlement.  But, if you timely and properly request exclusion, the Settlement will not prevent you from suing, continuing to sue or remaining or becoming part of a different lawsuit against Toyota in the future about the issues in the lawsuit.

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14. If I do not exclude myself, can I sue later?

Answer:

Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Toyota for the claims resolved by this Settlement.  If you do not exclude yourself and the Settlement is finally approved, you will be permanently enjoined and barred from initiating or continuing any lawsuit or other proceeding against Toyota about the issues in the lawsuit.

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15. How do I get out of the Settlement?

Answer:

To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must submit a written request saying that you want to be excluded from the Settlement.  In your letter, you must include: (a) a heading which refers to the lawsuit, Simerlein et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-01091-VAB (D. Conn.); (b) the excluding Class Member’s full name, current residential address, mailing address (if different), telephone number,  and email address; (c) an explanation of the basis upon which the excluding Class Member claims to be a Class Member, including the make, model year, and VIN(s) of the Subject Vehicle(s); (d) your request to be excluded from the Action; and (e) the excluding Class Member’s dated, handwritten signature (an electronic signature or attorney’s signature is not sufficient).  You can’t ask to be excluded over the phone or at the Settlement website.  You must mail your letter with your exclusion request postmarked no later than May 3, 2019 to the Settlement Notice Administrator at:


Simerlein, et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al., (D. Conn.)
c/o Toyota Settlement Notice Administrator
PO Box 230
Philadelphia, PA 19105-0230

Your letter with your exclusion request must be postmarked no later than May 3, 2019, to be considered by the Court.  The deadlines found in the Notice may be changed by the Court.  Please check this website regularly for updates regarding the Settlement.


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16. Do I have a lawyer in the case?

Answer:

Yes.  The Court has appointed lawyers to represent you and other Class Members.  These lawyers are called “Class Counsel”:  W. Daniel “Dee” Miles III of Beasley Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., Adam Levitt of DiCello Levitt & Casey LLC, and Demet Basar of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, are Class Counsel.  Their contact information is as follows:


W. Daniel “Dee” Miles III

Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C.

218 Commerce Street

Montgomery, Alabama  36104

Tel.: (800) 898-2034

E-mail: Dee.Miles@BeasleyAllen.com

Adam J. Levitt

DiCello Levitt & Casey LLC

10 North Dearborn Street, Eleventh Floor

Chicago, Illinois  60602

Tel.: (312) 214-7900

E-mail: alevitt@dlcfirm.com

 

Demet Basar

Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP

270 Madison Avenue

New York, New York  10016

Tel.: (212) 545-4600

E-mail: basar@whafh.com

 

 

If you want to be represented by another lawyer, you may hire one to appear in Court for you at your own expense.

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17. How will the lawyers be paid?

Answer:

The law firms that worked on this Action and the Related Action will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees in the amount of $6,500,000 and for reimbursement of their out-of-pocket costs and expenses in an amount not to exceed $500,000.  

Class Counsel will also ask the Court to award each of the Class Representatives service awards in the amount of $2,500 for the time and effort each spent representing Class Members.  This amount will be included in the attorneys’ out-of-pocket costs and expenses. 

The Court must approve the request for attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses and the request for Class Representative service awards.  The amounts awarded by the Court will be paid by Toyota in addition to all other Settlement benefits.  Under no circumstances will Toyota’s payment of attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses and Class Representative service awards reduce your Settlement benefits.


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18. How do I tell the Court if I do not like the Settlement?

Answer:

If you are a Class Member, and you do not exclude yourself from the Class, you can object to the Settlement if you do not like some part of it or all of it.  You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it.  You can also object to the request for attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses and the request for Class Representative service awards.  To object, you must send a written objection signed by you saying that you object to the Settlement in Simerlein, et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-01091-VAB, to the Clerk of Court (identified below) so that it is received and filed no later than May 3, 2019. 

In your objection, you must include: (a) a heading which refers to the Action, Simerlein, et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-01091-VAB (D. Conn.); (b) the objector’s full name, current residential address, mailing address (if different), telephone number, and email address; (c) an explanation of the basis upon which the objector claims to be a Class Member, including the make, model year, and VIN(s) of the Subject Vehicle(s); (d) all grounds for the objection, accompanied by any legal support for the objection known to the objector or his counsel, and any documents supporting the objection; (e) the number of times the objector has objected to a class action Settlement within the five years preceding the date that the objector files the objection, the caption of each case in which the objector has made such objection, and a copy of any orders related to or ruling upon the objector’s prior such objections that were issued by the trial and appellate courts in each listed case; (f) the full name, telephone number and address of all counsel who represent the objector, including any former or current counsel who may be entitled to compensation for any reason related to the objection to the Settlement Agreement and/or the request for attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses and/or the request for Class Representative service awards; (g) the identity of all counsel representing the objector who will appear at the Fairness Hearing; (h) a list of all persons who will be called to testify at the Fairness Hearing in support of the objection; (i) a statement confirming whether the objector intends to personally appear and/or testify at the Fairness Hearing; and (j) the objector’s dated signature.  Any documents supporting the objection must also be attached to the objection.  Class Members may object either on their own or through an attorney retained at their own expense.

Objections must be mailed to:

Clerk of Court
United States District Court
District of Connecticut
915 Lafayette Boulevard
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604
Re: Simerlein, Case No. 3:17-cv-01091 (VAB)


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19. What is the difference between objecting and excluding?

Answer:

Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class.  If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the Settlement no longer affects you. Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement, the requested fees, costs and expenses, and/or Class Representative service awards.  You can object only if you stay in the Class. 

If you are a Class Member and you do nothing, you will remain a Class Member and all of the Court’s orders will apply to you, you will be eligible for the Settlement benefits described above as long as you satisfy the conditions for receiving each benefit, and you will not be able to sue Toyota over the issues in the lawsuit.

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20. When and where will the Court decide whether to grant final approval of the Settlement?

Answer:

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time on June 4, 2019, at the United States District Courthouse, District of Connecticut, 915 Lafayette Boulevard - Suite 417, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604.  At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and whether to approve the request for attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses, and the request for Class Representative service awards.  If there are objections, the Court will consider them.  The Court will only listen to people who have met the requirement to speak at the hearing (see Question 21 below).  After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to grant final approval of the Settlement, and, if so, how much to pay the lawyers representing Class Members and the Class Representatives.  We do not know how long these decisions will take. The Court may reschedule the Fairness Hearing, so check the Settlement website periodically for further updates.

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21. Do I have to come to the hearing?

Answer:

No.  Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have.  But you are welcome to come at your own expense.  If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it – but you can if you provide advance notice of your intention to appear (see Question 22 below).  As long as you filed a written objection with all of the required information on time with the Court, the Court will consider it.  You may also pay another lawyer to attend, but it is not required.

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22. May I speak at the hearing?

Answer:

You or your attorney 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 Intent to Appear in Simerlein, et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al.” to the Clerk of Court so that it is received and filed no later than May 3, 2019.  You must include your name, address, telephone number, the year, make and model and VIN number of your vehicle, the identity of all counsel representing the objector, if any, who will appear at the Fairness Hearing, and your signature.  Anyone who has requested permission to speak must be present at the start of the Fairness hearing at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time on June 4, 2019. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself from the Class.

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23. How do I get more information?

Answer:

This Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement.  More details are in the Settlement Agreement.  You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement and other information about the Settlement and the Claim Form on this website.  You can also call the toll-free number, 1-833-305-3915 or write the Settlement Notice Administrator at Simerlein, et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al., (C.D. Cal.), c/o Toyota Settlement Notice Administrator, PO Box 230, Philadelphia, PA 19105-0230.  You can also look at the documents filed in the lawsuit at the Court on the Important Documents section on this website.

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24. When will the Settlement be final?

Answer:

The Settlement will not be final unless and until the Court grants final approval of the Settlement at or after the Fairness Hearing and after any appeals are resolved in favor of the Settlement.  Please be patient and check this website regularly.  Please do not contact the Court.  All questions should be directed to the Settlement Notice Administrator.

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This website is authorized by the Court, supervised by counsel and controlled by the Settlement Notice Administrator approved by the Court. This is the only authorized website for this case.

For more information please call 1-833-305-3915

Documents

Please read for a full explanation of the settlement and your options and all applicable timelines.

Contact

Contact us with any inquiries, comments, and/or requests.

Submit Claim

Click here to safely and securely submit a Claim Form.

Important Dates

  • File a Claim to Seek Reimbursement

    Friday, August 2, 2019 You must submit your Claim Form on-line by a date to be set, which will not be earlier than 60 days after June 4, 2019, or mail your completed paper Claim Form so that it is postmarked no later than a date to be set, which will not be earlier than 60 days after June 4, 2019.
  • Deadline to Object to the Settlement

    Friday, May 3, 2019 You must mail your written objection to the Clerk of Court so that it is received and filed no later than May 3, 2019.
  • Deadline to Exclude Yourself from the Settlement

    Friday, May 3, 2019 You must complete and mail your request for exclusion form so that it is postmarked no later than May 3, 2019.
  • Deadline to ask the Court for permission to speak at Fairness Hearing

    Friday, May 3, 2019 You must mail your “Notice of Intent to Appear” to the Clerk of Court so that it is received and filed no later than May 3, 2019.
  • Fairness Hearing

    Tuesday, June 4, 2019

    The Fairness Hearing is currently scheduled for June 4, 2019 at 11:00am Eastern.

    Please check this website for updates as the hearing date is subject to change.

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