- What is the Lawsuit about?
- What is the background of the litigation?
- Who is included in the Settlement?
- How do I know if my sprinklers qualify under the Settlement?
- What remedies are available under the Settlement?
- What is the definition of a non-fire activation?
- How do I submit a Claim Form?
- What are the Released Claims?
- Who is Class Counsel?
- Who pays Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees and costs?
- How do I opt out of the Settlement?
- How do I object to the Settlement?
- When and where is the Final Approval Hearing?
- How do I get more information?
- If I experienced a non-fire activation before June 6, 2020, can I still submit an Activation Claim?
- What is the Effective Date?
What is the Lawsuit about?
This website describes the proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit concerning alleged individual and class action claims against Viking asserting that the Subject Sprinklers are defective and prone to activate in the absence of a fire. The term “Lawsuit” means Jackson, et al. v. Viking Group, Inc., et al., No. 8:18-cv-02356-PJM (D. Md.). A copy of the Complaints filed in the Lawsuit will be posted on this website when they are made available by the Court.
Viking rejects the claims and allegations in the Lawsuit, including that the Subject Sprinklers are defective. Viking further denies that it violated any law, engaged in any wrongdoing, or owes any liability in this case to Plaintiffs or anyone else. Viking is settling to avoid the expense, inconvenience, risk, and disruption of further litigation. The Settlement is not an admission of any liability.
The Court has not decided that Viking violated any laws. This is not an expression of any opinion by the Court on the claims alleged in the Lawsuit.
Please note that the Settlement does not include any claims for personal injury and does not release any such claims of Settlement Class Members to the extent such claims exist.Back To Top
What is the background of the litigation?
The original Complaint in the Lawsuit was filed on July 31, 2018. During this period, the Parties have engaged in discovery, including, without limitation, the production and review of over 79,500 pages of documents.
The Parties also engaged in an alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) process, which included an in-person mediation session overseen by a retired judge. Through this extensive process, which included ADR-related discovery, and further numerous communications among counsel for the Parties over the course of many months, the Parties finally reached the proposed Settlement described and summarized on this website, and memorialized in the Settlement Agreement, which can be read here.Back To Top
Who is included in the Settlement?
The term “Settlement Class” is defined in the Settlement Agreement as:
All Persons that currently or at any time previously have owned a residential or commercial structure in the United States while it contains or contained Subject Sprinklers or while the structure sustained water damage from a non-fire activation of a Subject Sprinkler, including their spouses, joint owners, heirs, executors, administrators, mortgagees, residents, tenants, creditors, lenders, predecessors, successors, trusts and trustees, and assigns (“Occupant Persons”); as well as all Persons who have standing and are entitled to assert a Claim on behalf of any such Occupant Persons, such as, but not limited to, a builder, contractor, installer, distributor, seller, subrogated insurance carrier, or other Person who has claims for contribution, indemnity or otherwise against Viking based on claims for a non-fire activation of a Subject Sprinkler with respect to such residential or commercial structures. The Settlement Class includes all Persons who subsequently purchase or otherwise obtain an interest in a property covered by this Settlement without the need of a formal assignment by contract or court order.
Excluded from the Settlement Class are:
- Viking, its officers, directors, affiliates, legal representatives, employees, successors, and assigns, and entities in which Viking has a controlling interest;
- The judge presiding over the Lawsuit; and
- Local, municipal, state, and federal governmental entities.
The term “Subject Sprinklers” means Viking VK457 fire sprinklers, sold between January 1, 2013, and March 31, 2015.Back To Top
How do I know if my sprinklers qualify under the Settlement?
There are a number of ways to identify whether sprinklers that are or were installed in your structure are Subject Sprinklers under the Settlement Agreement.
- If you received direct notice from the Settlement Administrator with a Claimant ID Number, then that means Viking or installer records state that Subject Sprinklers were used in the construction of your structure. You should include that Claimant ID Number when completing your Claim Form to confirm your membership in the Settlement Class.
- If you did not receive direct notice with a Claimant ID Number, then you should first determine whether you have or had Viking VK457 fire sprinklers installed by reviewing any documentation concerning the sprinklers in your home; checking any spare sprinklers left behind by the installer to see if they are stamped “VK457”; or contacting your installer or the homebuilder (if known) for clarification.
For photo examples please click here.Back To Top
What remedies are available under the Settlement?
The Settlement shall provide the following remedies to Eligible Claimants who submit a valid and timely Claim Form to the Settlement Administrator:
- Activation Claims: Activation Claims are those that are based upon non-fire activations that occurred on or after June 6, 2020 through 24 Months after the Effective Date. Such Claims must be submitted to the Settlement Administrator no later than 180 days after the non-fire activation. Eligible Claimants shall receive 70% of their Reasonably Proven Property Damage. Non-fire Activations that occurred before June 6, 2020 are not eligible for payment in this Settlement.
Replacement Claims: Replacement Claims are those in which Eligible Claimants choose to have their Subject Sprinklers replaced with a Viking VK494 fire sprinkler or a reasonably equivalent Viking fire sprinkler of equal or greater quality (“Replacement Sprinklers”). Such Claims must have been submitted to the Settlement Administrator no later than February 28, 2022. Replacement Sprinklers will be installed by contractors selected and retained by Viking at no cost to the Settlement Class Member for the associated materials and labor. Settlement Class Members who paid to replace Subject Sprinklers prior to the Notice Date of April 6, 2020, can file a Replacement Claim for unreimbursed out of pocket costs up to a maximum amount of $35.00 per Subject Sprinkler replaced, inclusive of costs of materials and labor.
The February 28, 2022 deadline to submit a Replacement Claim has passed. We are no longer accepting Replacement Claim submissions.
What is the definition of a non-fire activation?
The term “non-fire activation” means an activation of a Subject Sprinkler in the absence of fire. Non-fire activations that are the sole result of physical damage to the Subject Sprinkler will not be eligible for an Activation Claim.
If a Claimant wishes to appeal the Settlement Administrator’s rejection of a Claim on the basis of whether the Claim presents a non-fire activation, then the appeal must be submitted to the Special Master within ten (10) calendar days of the rejection according to the procedures specified in the Settlement Agreement. The decision of the Special Master will be final. If a Claimant wishes to appeal the Settlement Administrator’s rejection of a Claim on any other ground, then the appeal must be submitted to the Settlement Administrator for binding resolution consistent with the procedures set forth in the Settlement Agreement. Additional information about the appeal mechanisms and process can be found in the Settlement Agreement.Back To Top
How do I submit a Claim Form?
To be eligible to receive any of the remedies described in FAQ 5, you must complete and submit a valid and timely Claim Form. Your Claim Form and supporting documentation may be submitted via the following methods:
- Online: Claim Forms can be submitted electronically via this website. You will be able to file for Replacement and Activation Claims. To get started, click here; or
- Email: Claim Forms can be submitted to the Settlement Administrator using the email address info@VK457SprinklerSettlement.com; or
- U.S. Mail: Claim Forms can be submitted to the Settlement Administrator using the address: Viking VK457 Sprinkler Class Action Settlement, Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 3127, Portland, OR 97208-3127.
If you need a copy of the paper Claim Form, you may download one here.
The deadline for submitting an Activation Claim is August 28, 2022. However, it is recommended you submit your Claim Form as soon as possible.
The February 28, 2022 deadline to submit a Replacement Claim has passed. We are no longer accepting Replacement Claim submissions.
Please check this website any updates regarding Claim Form deadline dates.Back To Top
What are the Released Claims?
Per the Settlement Agreement, the Released Claims are as follows:
Release: Upon the Effective Date and subject to the limited exclusions set forth below, all Settlement Class Members, on behalf of themselves and their agents, heirs, executors and administrators, successors, assigns, insurers, attorneys, representatives, and any and all persons who seek to claim through or in the name or right of any of them (but excluding any Person who timely opted out of the Settlement with regard to the specific structures opted out) (the “Releasing Parties”), release and forever discharge (as by an instrument under seal without further act by any person, and upon good and sufficient consideration), Viking, its administrators, insurers, reinsurers, agents, firms, parent companies/corporations, sister companies/corporations, subsidiaries and affiliates, and any sales agents and distributors, wholesalers, retailers, installers, home builders, contractors, developers, engineers, architects, and any other product or service provider or any other party in the chain of distribution who distributed, specified, recommended, sold, and/or installed the Subject Sprinklers; and all of the foregoing Persons’ respective predecessors, successors, assigns and present and former officers, directors, shareholders, employees, agents, attorneys, and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”), from each and every claim of liability, on any legal or equitable ground whatsoever, including relief under federal law or the laws of any state, regarding or related to the Subject Sprinklers, including without limitation all past, present, or future claims, damages, or liability on any legal or equitable ground whatsoever, and regardless of whether such claims might have been or might be brought directly, or through subrogation or assignment or otherwise, on account of or related to the Subject Sprinklers, which were alleged or could have been alleged in the Complaints filed in the Lawsuit. The releases provided for herein are as a result of membership as a Settlement Class Member, the Court’s approval process herein, and occurrence of the Effective Date, and are not conditional on receipt of replacement sprinklers or any payment or other remedy by any particular member of the Settlement Class. This Settlement Agreement and the releases provided for herein shall not and are not intended to release the claims of the Settlement Class Members against the suppliers of raw materials, components, or ingredients used in the manufacture of the Subject Sprinklers, which the Settlement Class Members hereby fully and forever assign, transfer, and convey to Viking. For purposes of any claims by Viking against the suppliers of raw materials, components, or ingredients used in the manufacture of the Subject Sprinklers, should such supplier seek to join any Settlement Class Member in such a claim, Viking shall defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Settlement Class Member from any and all claims of any such supplier against the Settlement Class Member.
Exclusions from Release: All personal injury claims are expressly excluded from the Release. Moreover, claims for damages associated with non-fire activations of a Subject Sprinkler that occurred on or before the Objection and Opt-Out Date are not eligible for an Activation Claim and are excluded from the Release.Back To Top
Who is Class Counsel?
In the Preliminary Approval Order, the Court appointed Sauder Schelkopf LLC (www.sauderschelkopf.com) and Kramon and Graham PA (www.kramonandgraham.com) as Class Counsel to represent Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class Members. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you wish to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense. The contact information for Class Counsel is set forth below:
Joseph G. Sauder
Joseph B. Kennedy
Sauder Schelkopf LLC
555 Lancaser Ave.
Berwyn, PA 19312
James P. Ulwick
Kramon & Graham PA
One South St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Back To Top
Who pays Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees and costs?
Within the time period established by the Court and no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the Objection and Opt-Out Deadline, Class Counsel will file a Motion for Approval of Attorneys’ Fees, Cost and Service Awards to be paid by Viking, which shall be added to this website. Class Counsel in the Lawsuit shall apply for the following: (a) attorneys’ fees and costs not to exceed $2,950,000 and (b) service awards of $3,000 for Gayl Jackson (which shall also represent a per-household limitation) and a service award of $1,000 for Michelle Ebner and for Denise Turner (which shall also represent a per-household limitation), in recognition of their time, costs and effort in the Lawsuit in, for example and as applicable, producing documents and information to Class Counsel, among many other representative duties and services performed.Back To Top
How do I opt out of the Settlement?
The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was June 5, 2020.Back To Top
How do I object to the Settlement?
The deadline to object to the Settlement was June 5, 2020.Back To Top
When and where is the Final Approval Hearing?
The Final Approval Hearing was held July 28, 2020, at the United States District Court for the District of Maryland at 6500 Cherrywood Lane, Suite 475A, Greenbelt, MD 20770, before Judge Peter J. Messitte, who determined the Settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable, granting final approval.Back To Top
How do I get more information?
This website only summarizes the Settlement. For more information, please review the full Settlement Agreement and Exhibits (including copies of the proposed Notice and the Claim Form), and other court documents located here.
If you need more information or have any questions, you may contact the Settlement Administrator at the information below:
Viking VK457 Sprinkler Class Action Settlement
P.O. Box 3127
Portland, OR 97208-3127
PLEASE DO NOT WRITE OR CALL THE COURT, THE CLERK OF THE COURT, VIKING, OR COUNSEL FOR VIKING FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT OR THIS LAWSUIT.Back To Top
If I experienced a non-fire activation before June 6, 2020, can I still submit an Activation Claim?
No, only non-fire activations that occur on or after June 6, 2020 are eligible for payment under the Settlement through an Activation Claim. Any non-fire activations that occur on or before June 5, 2020, are not part of this Settlement and are not subject to the Release in Section F.1 of the Settlement Agreement. You still may be eligible for a Replacement Claim, however.
If you would like to be contacted by a representative of Viking concerning your pre-June 6, 2020, non-fire activation, please provide your name, contact info, and a brief description of your pre-June 6, 2020, non-fire activation (date, address, etc.) to the Settlement Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.Back To Top
What is the Effective Date?
The term “Effective Date” means: (a) the expiration date of the time for filing notice of any appeal from the Final Approval Order and Final Judgment if no appeal is filed; or (b) if an appeal is filed, the latest of (i) the date of final affirmance of that Final Approval Order and Final Judgment, (ii) the expiration of the time for a petition for writ of certiorari to review the Final Approval Order and Final Judgment if affirmed, the denial of certiorari, or, if certiorari is granted, the date of final affirmance of the Final Approval Order and Final Judgment following review pursuant to that grant; or (iii) the date of final dismissal of any appeal from the Final Approval Order and Final Judgment or the final dismissal of any proceeding on certiorari to review the Final Approval Order and Final Judgment that has the effect of confirming the Final Approval Order and Final Judgment. For avoidance of doubt, the Effective Date shall not have been reached until the Court enters a Final Approval Order and Final Judgment and there has been the successful exhaustion of all appeal periods without appeal or resolution of any appeals or certiorari proceedings in a manner upholding the Final Approval Order and Final Judgment.
The Effective Date was August 28, 2020.Back To Top