UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA. Case Nos. 2:12-06878-SJO ("UDC") and 2:16-cv-05255-SJO ("Mergens")

FAQs

1. Why are there class actions regarding the Series 503 Flushmate III Pressure-Assist Flushing System (the “Flushmate III,” the “Flushmate System” or the “Flushmate III System”)?

In June 2012 and January 2014, Flushmate and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission jointly announced a voluntary recall of Flushmate Systems manufactured from October 14, 1997 through June 30, 2009.  The lawsuit, United Desert Charities, et. al. v. Sloan Valve Company, et. al., No. 12-cv-06878 (“UDC Action”), was filed following the June 2012 recall announcement. The voluntary recall was expanded on July 14, 2016 to include Flushmate Systems manufactured from July 1, 2009 through April 30, 2011.  The lawsuit, Mergens v. Sloan Valve Company, No. 16-cv-05255 (“Mergens Action”), was filed following the July 2016 expanded recall announcement.

Some Flushmate III Systems manufactured between October 14, 1997 and April 30, 2011 may leak and/or burst at or near the weld seam of the Flushmate System’s vessel, releasing stored pressure.  If the Flushmate System bursts, it can lift the toilet fixture’s porcelain tank lid and shatter the lid and/or the toilet’s tank, posing impact or laceration hazards and property damage.

The class action lawsuits do not involve any claims for personal injury arising out of the “defect” alleged by the Plaintiffs.  The Defendants deny all claims alleged in the class action lawsuits.  The Court has not determined who is right or whether either side “won.”  Instead, the parties have agreed to settle to avoid the uncertainties, delays, and expenses of continuing the lawsuits.

2. Who is part of the UDC settlement class?

The UDC settlement class includes any person or entity in the United States who owns or owned a Flushmate System installed in the United States manufactured from October 14, 1997 through June 30, 2009. The Flushmate Systems are rectangular, black, two-piece vessels made of injection molded plastic. The serial number is 16 characters long and is located on the label on the top of the Flushmate System that is easily visible after lifting the toilet fixture’s porcelain tank lid. The first six numerals of the serial number are the manufacturing date code. The manufacturing date code range for the UDC settlement begins with 101497 (October 14, 1997) and continues through 063009 (June 30, 2009).

3. Who is part of the Mergens settlement class?

The Mergens settlement class includes any person or entity in the United States who owns or owned a Flushmate System in the United States manufactured from July 1, 2009 through April 30, 2011. The Flushmate Systems are rectangular, black, two-piece vessels made of injection molded plastic. The serial number is 16 characters long and is located on the label on the top of the Flushmate System that is easily visible after lifting the toilet fixture’s porcelain tank lid. The first six numerals of the serial number are the manufacturing date code. The manufacturing date code range for the Mergens settlement begins with 070109 (July 1, 2009) and continues through 043011 (April 30, 2011).

4. Was there a recall of this product?

Yes. Flushmate and the CPSC jointly announced the recall in June 2012, January 2014, and July 2016. You can get additional information regarding the recall at www.flushmate.com/recall.

5. Is there one toilet brand that has the Flushmate III?

No. The Flushmate System was installed in certain toilets manufactured by American Standard, Copperfit, Crane, Ecotech, Eljer, Gerber, Kohler, Lamosa, Mancesa, Mansfield, Orion, St. Thomas, Universal Rundle, Vitra, Vitromex, Vortens and Western Pottery.

6. Were the toilets containing Flushmate Systems (the “Flushmate Toilets” or the “Flushmate III Toilets”) only available to plumbers?

No. Toilets equipped with the Flushmate System were sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s stores and through distributors and plumbing contractors.

7. Are all Flushmate products part of the settlements?

No. Only Flushmate III Systems manufactured from October 14, 1997 through April 30, 2011 are part of the settlements. The Flushmate Systems are rectangular, black, two-piece vessels made of injection molded plastic. The serial number is 16 characters long and is located on the label on the top of the Flushmate System that is easily visible after lifting the toilet fixture’s porcelain tank lid. The first six numerals of the serial number are the manufacturing date code. The manufacturing date code range for the settlements begins with 101497 (October 14, 1997) and continues through 043011 (April 30, 2011).

8. Who is the manufacturer?

Flushmate, of New Hudson, Mich., a division of Sloan Valve Company.

9. How do I determine if I have a Flushmate System?

Flushmate Systems can only be identified by the unique serial number on the product label. Lift the china tank lid and look at your Flushmate System. The serial number is on the label on top of the Flushmate System. The first six numerals of the serial number are the manufacturing date code. The manufacturing date code for the Flushmate Systems involved in the settlements begins with 101497 (October 14, 1997) and continues through 043011 (April 30, 2011).

10. How do I know if my Flushmate III is part of the recall and the settlements?

Flushmate Systems that are part of the recall and the settlements can only be identified by the unique serial number on the product label. Lift the china tank lid and look at your Flushmate product. The serial number is on the label on top of the Flushmate System. The first six numerals of the serial number are the manufacturing date code.

The manufacturing date code range for the UDC settlement begins with 101497 (October 14, 1997) and continues through 063009 (June 30, 2009). The manufacturing date code range for the Mergens settlement begins with 070109 (July 1, 2009) and continues through 043011 (April 30, 2011).

Please make sure to write down the complete serial number as it appears on the label of each Flushmate System.

11. How can I obtain a repair kit?

To request a free repair kit, verify the serial number on your Flushmate System by visiting www.flushmate.com/recall/ or by calling the Flushmate Recall Hotline toll-free at (800) 303-5123 Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 10:00 PM ET and Saturday between 8:00 AM and 6:30 PM ET.

12. My Flushmate III Toilet burst and broke the tank and/or the tank’s lid, what do I do?

Contact the Flushmate Recall Hotline immediately toll-free at (800) 303-5123 Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 10:00 PM ET and Saturday between 8:00 AM and 6:30 PM ET.

13. How do I file a claim under the settlements?

You must submit a claim form before September 18, 2018.* Claim forms are available online at www.FlushmateClaims.com or by calling 1-877-412-5277.

You may submit your claim form online, or by e-mail, U.S. Mail or facsimile at the following addresses:

By Mail: Flushmate Claims Administrator
P.O. Box 1272
Lancaster, CA 93584

By Internet: www.FlushmateClaims.com/claim-forms/

By E-mail: CSR@flushmateclaims.com

By Facsimile: (661) 951-0978

*UDC settlement class: The initial claims period for the UDC settlement expired on September 24, 2016. Claims submitted before September 18, 2018 will be paid as long as the $18 million settlement fund has not been exhausted.

14. Do I have to request a repair kit and/or a replacement Flushmate pressure vessel in order to file a claim?

Yes. You are eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses only if you have already installed the repair kit and/or replacement Flushmate pressure vessel for a qualifying Flushmate System. You are strongly encouraged to install the repair kit immediately upon receipt from Flushmate.

15. My Flushmate III System appears to be operating with no problems, do I need to do anything?

Yes. All owners of qualifying Flushmate III Systems should at a minimum contact Flushmate to request a free repair kit. To see if you have a qualifying Flushmate System, verify the serial number on your Flushmate System by visiting www.flushmate.com/recall/ or by calling the Flushmate Recall Hotline toll-free at (800) 303-5123 Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 10:00 PM ET and Saturday between 8:00 AM and 6:30 PM ET.

16. What happens after I file a claim?

If you submit a valid claim form for installation reimbursement by September 18, 2018, you will receive a distribution from the settlement fund for all reasonable unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses for having installed a repair kit, having installed a replacement pressure vessel or having installed a replacement toilet in place of a Flushmate Toilet.*

Additionally, UDC settlement class members who submit valid claims for having installed a repair kit, replacement vessel, or replacement toilet themselves will be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired or replaced.  If there are sufficient funds remaining in the settlement fund after September 18, 2018, Mergens settlement class members who submit valid claims for having installed a repair kit, replacement vessel, or replacement toilet themselves will be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired or replaced.

Please submit copies of your invoices or receipts with your claim. If you do not have invoices or receipts, you can still submit your claim listing the Flushmate System serial number or providing other proof of ownership of the Flushmate Toilet for which you are seeking reimbursement, and declaring under penalty of perjury that the information that you submit with the claim form is true and correct.

You may also receive reimbursement for property damage caused by a Flushmate System that leaked or burst to the extent not previously reimbursed by Flushmate or others. You will be required to provide documentation in support of any such property damage claim.

*UDC settlement class: The initial claims period for the UDC settlement expired on September 24, 2016. Claims submitted before September 18, 2018 will be paid as long as the $18 million settlement fund has not been exhausted.

17. How long will it take me to receive the repair kit?

Free repair kits will be promptly shipped by Flushmate to all claimants who have a qualified Flushmate System based upon verification of the serial number.

18. Will I be able to install the repair kit myself?

Yes, Flushmate Systems are designed for simple installation, and the repair kit is no exception. The free repair kit will include a color installation instruction sheet with pictures. The repair kit instruction sheet will include a link to an installation video. The installation process is very simple and should take less than twenty minutes.

However, the settlements provide for a distribution from the settlement fund for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses to help offset the cost of professional plumber or third party technician repair kit installation, if you choose not to install the repair kit yourself.

Additionally, UDC settlement class members who submit valid claims for having installed a repair kit themselves will be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired. If there are sufficient funds remaining in the settlement fund after September 18, 2018, Mergens settlement class members who submit valid claims for having installed a repair kit themselves may be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired.

In order to receive payment for having installed a repair kit yourself, you must be prepared to provide the serial number or otherwise provide proof of ownership of the Flushmate System(s) for which you are seeking payment and to declare under penalty of perjury that the information that you submit with the claim form is true and correct.

If there is more than one claim under the settlements with respect to a specific serial number, apportionment of the settlement benefits will be made either pursuant to an agreement in writing by the claimants, or, if necessary, the allocation will be determined by the claims administrator.

19. Is there a video showing how to install the repair kit and how can I view the installation video?

Yes, there is a video to help you install the repair kit. The installation video can be accessed from your computer (PC or Mac), or from your smartphone using the URL or the QR code that is included within the repair kit instruction sheet. There is also a link to the installation video at www.flushmate.com/recall/

20. What if I have any questions regarding installing the repair kit?

The installation process is very simple and should take less than twenty minutes. However, if after reading the instructions and watching the installation video you experience difficulty, call the Flushmate Recall Hotline toll-free at (800) 303-5123 Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 10:00 PM ET and Saturday between 8:00 AM and 6:30 PM ET. The technician can guide you through the process.

21. How much will I have to pay for the repair kit?

The repair kit is free and will be shipped free of charge from Flushmate after you have verified your serial number with Flushmate either at www.flushmate.com/recall/ or by calling the Flushmate Recall Hotline toll-free at (800) 303-5123 Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 10:00 PM ET and Saturday between 8:00 AM and 6:30 PM ET.

22. Will the claims administrator send a technician to install the repair kit?

No, the settlements provide for a distribution from the settlement fund for the unreimbursed out-of-pocket installation expenses incurred for having installed a repair kit, to help offset the cost of professional plumber or third party technician repair kit installation if you choose not to install the repair kit yourself.

UDC settlement class members who submit valid claims for having installed a repair kit themselves will be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired.

If there are sufficient funds remaining in the settlement fund after September 18, 2018, Mergens settlement class members who submit valid claims for having a repair kit themselves may be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired.

23. What happens if my Flushmate Toilet has leaked or is leaking?

If you have a qualifying Flushmate Toilet that has leaked or is leaking, then you may request a free replacement pressure vessel with instructions on how to replace the pressure vessel directly from Flushmate. After the new pressure vessel is installed, you may file a claim and request reimbursement from the settlement fund. You will receive a distribution from the settlement fund for qualified claims for unreimbursed out-of-pocket installation expenses incurred in connection with installing the replacement pressure vessel to help offset professional plumber or third party technician installation charges.

Additionally, UDC settlement class members who submit valid claims for having installed a replacement pressure vessel themselves will be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired.  If there are sufficient funds remaining in the settlement fund after September 18, 2018, Mergens settlement class members who submit valid claims for having installed a replacement pressure vessel themselves may be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired.

Please submit copies of your invoices or receipts with the claim. If you do not have invoices or receipts, you can still submit your claim listing the serial number or providing other proof of ownership of the Flushmate System(s) for which you are seeking reimbursement, and declaring under penalty of perjury that the information that you submit with the claim form is true and correct.

24. How long will it take me to receive the replacement pressure vessel?

Free replacement pressure vessels will be promptly shipped to eligible claimants.

25. Will I be able to install the replacement Flushmate pressure vessel myself?

Flushmate Systems are designed for simple installation. If you experience difficulty, please call a Flushmate Customer Service Technician toll-free at (800) 533-3460 Monday through Friday between 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM ET. The technician can guide you through the process. However, the settlements provide for a distribution from the settlement fund for the unreimbursed out-of-pocket installation expenses incurred as a result of having a professional plumber or third party technician install the replacement Flushmate pressure vessel.

Additionally, UDC settlement class members who submit valid claims for having installed a replacement pressure vessel themselves will be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired.  If there are sufficient funds remaining in the settlement fund after September 18, 2018, Mergens settlement class members who submit valid claims for having a replacement pressure vessel themselves may be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired.

Please submit copies of your invoices or receipts with the claim. If you do not have invoices or receipts, you can still submit your claim listing the serial number or providing other proof of ownership of the Flushmate System(s) for which you are seeking reimbursement, and declaring under penalty of perjury that the information that you submit with the claim form is true and correct.

26. How much will I have to pay for the replacement pressure vessel?

The replacement pressure vessel is free for eligible claimants, and will be shipped free of charge by Flushmate if your Flushmate System has been determined to be qualified.

27. Will the claims administrator send a technician to install the replacement pressure vessel?

No, the settlements provide for a distribution from the settlement fund for eligible claims for unreimbursed out-of-pocket installation expenses incurred for having installed a replacement pressure vessel to help offset the cost of professional plumber or third party technician replacement pressure vessel installation.

Additionally, UDC settlement class members who submit valid claims for having -installed a replacement pressure vessel themselves will be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired.  If there are sufficient funds remaining in the settlement fund after September 18, 2018, Mergens settlement class members who submit valid claims for having installed a replacement pressure vessel themselves may be eligible to receive $25 per Flushmate Toilet repaired.

Please submit copies of your invoices or receipts with the claim. If you do not have invoices or receipts, you can still submit your claim listing the serial number or providing other proof of ownership of the Flushmate System(s) for which you are seeking reimbursement, and declaring under penalty of perjury that the information that you submit with the claim form is true and correct.

28. Will the settlement fund provide a new toilet if requested?

No. There are no provisions within the settlements providing for new replacement toilets. However, you may submit a non-property damage claim for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses associated with the installation of a (a) repair kit, (b) replacement pressure vessel, or (c) replacement toilet during the claims period (including the UDC extended claims period).

You may also submit a property damage claim to obtain reimbursement for the unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses incurred to repair or replace property damaged by a leaked or burst Flushmate Toilet, including the toilet fixture. You will be required to provide documentation in support of any such property damage claim.

29. Will the claims administrator send a technician to install the replacement toilet if I purchase it?

No. However, the settlements provide for a distribution from the settlement fund for eligible claims for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses associated with the installation of a replacement toilet if the claimant elected to replace the toilet fixture instead of installing the repair kit or replacement Flushmate pressure vessel, and for unreimbursed property damage sustained as a result of a Flushmate Toilet that leaked or burst, including the toilet fixture.

30. What if I no longer have my Flushmate Toilet?

You may still file a claim for a distribution from the settlement fund for the unreimbursed out-of-pocket installation expenses incurred in connection with installation of the replacement toilet in place of a Flushmate Toilet. Please submit copies of your invoices or receipts with the claim. If you do not have invoices or receipts, you can still submit your claim listing the Flushmate System serial number or providing other proof of ownership of the Flushmate Toilet for which you are seeking reimbursement, and declaring under penalty of perjury that the information that you submit with the claim form is true and correct.

31. I requested a repair kit from Flushmate as part of the recall; do I have any rights under the settlements?

Yes. The settlements provide for a distribution from the settlement fund for eligible claims for unreimbursed out-of-pocket installation expenses incurred in connection with having installed a repair kit. Please submit copies of your invoices or receipts with the claim. If you do not have invoices or receipts, you can still submit your claim listing the Flushmate System serial number or providing other proof of ownership of the Flushmate Toilet for which you are seeking reimbursement, and declaring under penalty of perjury that the information that you submit with the claim form is true and correct.

32. If my Flushmate System leaked or burst and caused property damage, can I file a claim for the property damage?

Yes. Settlement class members may submit claims for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses associated with repairing or replacing property damaged as a result of a Flushmate System that leaked or burst. You will be required to submit documentation for such out-of pocket expenses.

33. How do I file a claim for property damage?

You may file a property damage claim form that requires that you provide information regarding Property Damage resulting from the leak or burst of a Flushmate System that has not been previously reimbursed by Flushmate or others. You will be required to provide documentation in support of any such property damage claim. The Claims Administrator will evaluate the documentation provided and make a determination as to whether your claim qualifies and if so, in what amount.

34. What if I do not agree with the claims administrator's decision regarding my property damage claim?

Decisions by the claims administrator concerning property damage claims valued at less than $1,000 are final and not subject to objection, review, appeal or reversal. For property damage claims in excess of that amount, claimants will have fifteen business days from the date of mailing of a notice of claims decision to notify the claims administrator in writing of any objections to the allowance or disallowance of a property damage claim and the reason(s) therefor. The claims administrator will provide copies of the claimant’s objection, if any, to class counsel and defense counsel. If no objection is made by the claimant that is postmarked within that fifteen business day period, the claims administrator will send the claimant a check for the approved settlement benefit.

35. What happens if I file a claimant objection?

Within ten business days of receipt of a claimant’s objection, the claims administrator will attempt to resolve the objection. If the claimant’s objection cannot be resolved informally, the claims administrator will submit the claimant’s objection to the Special Master and notify the claimant of claimant’s right to supplement the claim within twenty business days. Promptly following submission of the claimant’s objection and any supplemental documentation from the claimant, the Special Master will either issue a decision or conduct a hearing with the claimant and the claims administrator.

All hearings will be conducted by telephone, and will not exceed one hour in length. The Special Master will render his ruling in writing no later than ten business days thereafter. The Special Master’s ruling will be final and not subject to reversal or adjustment by the Court. Claims which are the subject of a claimant’s objection will be paid consistent with the claims administrator’s amended notice of allowance of claim or the ruling of the Special Master.

36. Do I have to install the repair kit, replacement Flushmate pressure vessel or replacement toilet?

You are eligible for reimbursement of unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses only if you have already installed the repair kit, replacement Flushmate pressure vessel, or a replacement toilet for a qualifying Flushmate System. You are strongly encouraged to install the repair kit immediately upon receipt from Flushmate.

37. How will the settlement fund be distributed?

After paying all valid claims in the UDC Action during the initial claims period, approximately $7 million remains in the UDC settlement fund. The remaining money will be used to pay all valid claims submitted during the extended UDC claims period and the Mergens claims period. The remaining money will also be used to pay administration costs and the cost of providing notice to the two classes.

If the remaining balance from the $18 million settlement fund in the UDC Action is exhausted before the end of the extended UDC claims period, the UDC settlement will terminate. If the UDC settlement fund is exhausted before all valid claims for unreimbursed out-of-pocket installation expenses and property damage are paid in the Mergens Action, Sloan will contribute additional money to pay all such valid claims submitted during the Mergens claims period.

If there is money still available in the UDC settlement fund after all payments have been made, then the Mergens claims period and extended UDC claims period may be extended or the lawyers for the UDC settlement fund will request the Court to allow the money to be donated to a charitable organization. This will be decided at a later date.

Additional details are set forth in the UDC/Mergens Long Form Notice.