Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why did I receive a notice?

    A class action, known as Callaway v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC., No. 14-CV-02011 JVS, is pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Records show you may currently own or lease, or may have owned or leased, a 2000-2007 ML-Class, 2006-2007 R-Class, or 2007 GL- Class Mercedes-Benz vehicle equipped with seat heaters (the “Subject Vehicles”), and therefore may be a Settlement Class Member.

    A proposed Settlement has been reached that may affect your legal rights. The Honorable James V. Selna of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, who is overseeing this class action and Settlement, ordered that you be sent a Notice.

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  2. What is this class action about?

    Plaintiff alleges the seat heaters in the Subject Vehicles may overheat, causing a hot spot to develop that can potentially spark, smoke or burn a hole through the seat cover. The operative complaint asserts fraud-based claims, including claims for fraudulent concealment, violation of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Cal. Civil Code § 1781 et seq., and violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, et seq.. The defendant is Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (“MBUSA”).

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  3. What does the Settlement provide?

    A. If the Settlement becomes effective and you timely file a qualifying claim, you may elect to bring your Subject Vehicle to an authorized Mercedes-Benz Dealer to have a “bypass wire repair procedure” performed on your Subject Vehicle’s driver’s seat, at no cost to you. This procedure is not a repair to the seat heater itself, but involves the installation of a wire in the driver’s-side seat cover that will bypass the area of the seat heater element where a hot spot could possibly occur. By electing to receive this procedure, you give up your right to receive the partial coverage for future repairs to the seat heater and seat cover in your Subject Vehicle described below in Section B. However, the bypass wire repair procedure (i.e., the bypass wire and labor to install it) will be covered by MBUSA’s standard two-year parts warranty. Further details about the bypass repair option and are set forth in the Notice.

    B. If the Settlement becomes effective, MBUSA will pay for repairs necessitated by qualifying malfunctions in original equipment seat heaters in the “Subject Vehicles,” for a period of two years from the effective date of the Settlement, or 180,000 miles from the vehicle’s original in-service date, whichever occurs first, subject to certain limitations. If, after the date on which the Settlement becomes effective, the original equipment seat heater in your Subject Vehicle experiences a malfunction of the type at issue in this action, you must present your vehicle to an authorized Mercedes-Benz Dealer to receive coverage, You do not have to do anything to receive coverage for future repairs; if the Settlement becomes effective your Subject Vehicle will be covered for two years or 180,000 miles unless you elect to receive the bypass wire repair procedure or opt out of the Settlement. Further details about coverage for future repairs and are set forth in the Notice.

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  4. Who is included in the class?

    All current and former owners and lessees of Mercedes-Benz model year 2000-2007 M-Class (aka ML-Class), model year 2006-2007 R-Class, and model year 2007 GL-Class vehicles with original-equipment seat heaters who purchased or leased their Subject Vehicles in the United States.

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  5. Who is excluded from the class?

    Excluded from the Settlement Class are:

    1. Persons who have settled with, released, or otherwise had claims adjudicated on the merits against MBUSA that are substantially similar to those alleged in this matter;
    2. Former owners and lessees whose Subject Vehicles did not experience a seat heater malfunction during the time they owned or leased their Subject Vehicles;
    3. Employees of MBUSA;
    4. Insurers or other providers of extended service contracts or warranties for the vehicles owned by Settlement Class Members; and
    5. The Honorable James V. Selna and the Honorable Douglas F. McCormick, and members of their respective families.

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  6. What do I need to do to participate?

    If the Settlement becomes effective and you remain a Settlement Class Member, you will not need to do anything to become eligible to receive covered future repairs at authorized Mercedes-Benz Dealers.

    If the Settlement becomes effective and you remain a Settlement Class Member, and you want to receive the bypass wire repair procedure, you need to submit the Bypass Wire Repair Claim Form attached to the Notice by the deadline printed on your Claim Form. You may also download a copy here.

    If the Settlement becomes effective and you remain a Settlement Class Member, and you want to get reimbursed for costs paid to repair a seat heater in your Subject Vehicle(s), you need to submit the Reimbursement Claim Form attached to the Notice by the deadline printed on your Claim Form. You may also download a copy here.

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  7. How do I submit a claim to receive the bypass repair procedure?

    To receive the bypass wire repair procedure, you must first submit a valid and completed Bypass Wire Repair Claim Form enclosed with the Notice by the deadline printed on your Claim Form. Then, if the Settlement is approved and becomes final, you will have 60 days from the date the Settlement becomes final to schedule an appointment with an Authorized Mercedes-Benz Dealer to have the repair procedure performed. You will receive an email when the Settlement becomes final letting you know that you need to make the appointment. The appointment may take place more than 60 days after the date the Settlement becomes final, so long as you contact the Authorized Dealer to schedule the appointment within the 60-day timeframe. The parts and labor associated with the repair will be subject to MBUSA’s standard two-year limited parts warranty. The Bypass Wire Repair Claim Form must be signed and made under penalty of perjury to be valid.

    If the Settlement is not approved by the Court, neither you nor any other class member will be eligible to receive this benefit.

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  8. How do I get any necessary future repair to a seat heater in my Subject Vehicle(s) partially paid for by MBUSA, and what are the limitations on future repairs?

    To get MBUSA to partially pay for necessary repairs in the event of a future malfunction of an original equipment seat heater in your Subject Vehicle(s), you do not need to do anything right now. If a repair is necessary in the future, contact an authorized Mercedes Benz dealer. If the repair relates to the type of malfunction alleged in this lawsuit and you remain a Settlement Class Member, MBUSA will partially pay for the repair subject to the following limitations.

    • For seat heaters in Subject Vehicles needing qualified repairs within two years of the Effective Date and having 40,000 miles or less from the Vehicle’s original in-service date, MBUSA will cover 75% of the reasonable repair amount;
    • For seat heaters in Subject Vehicles needing qualified repairs within two years of the Effective Date and having between 40,000 miles and 80,000 miles from the Vehicle’s original in-service date, MBUSA will cover 50% of the reasonable repair amount;
    • For seat heaters in Subject Vehicles needing qualified repairs within two years of the Effective Date and having between 80,000 miles and 140,000 miles from the Vehicle’s original in-service date, MBUSA will cover 25% of the reasonable repair amount;
    • For seat heaters in Subject Vehicles needing qualified repairs within two years of the Effective Date and having between 140,000 miles and 180,000 miles from the Vehicle’s original in-service date, MBUSA will cover 15% of the reasonable repair amount;
    • For seat heaters needing qualified repairs after two years from the Effective Date or more than 180,000 miles from the Subject Vehicle’s original in-service date, whichever occurs first, MBUSA shall not be required to offer any coverage.

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  9. How do I get reimbursed for a past repair to a seat heater in my Subject Vehicle(s)?

    To receive reimbursement for costs you paid to repair a seat heater in your Subject Vehicle(s), you must submit a valid and completed Reimbursement Claim Form that is enclosed with the Notice by the deadline printed on your Claim Form. You must also attach copies of repair orders (or similar itemized invoices) and proof of payment. Please do not send originals. Acceptable proof of payment includes a receipt showing payment, an invoice indicating payment was made (e.g., stamped “PAID”), cancelled checks, credit card statements, credit receipts, or other document showing payment. The Reimbursement Claim Form must be signed and made under penalty of perjury to be valid. If you do not timely submit a valid Reimbursement Claim Form, you will forgo your right to receive any reimbursement for your out-of-pocket costs arising from qualified repairs to original equipment seat heaters in your Subject Vehicle.

    The amount of the reimbursement is limited to $1,000 per repair, and the repair must have related to the type of malfunction alleged in this lawsuit. There is also no double recovery, so if you already received reimbursement from MBUSA for the past repair in the form of goodwill or otherwise, the amount of your past repair will be offset against the current reimbursement.

    If the Settlement is not approved by the Court neither you or any other class member will be eligible to receive this benefit.

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  10. Why are there different Exclusion, Objection, and Claim Filing deadlines for owners of vehicles registered in California or New Hampshire?

    Notices mailed to owners of vehicles registered in California and New Hampshire were sent at a later date than Notices mailed to all other owners. Therefore, deadlines for these records have been extended in accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement.

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  11. What claims are being released as part of this Settlement?

    Upon final approval of this Settlement, each class member will release and discharge MBUSA and its current and former parent companies, subsidiaries, and related or affiliated companies, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, partners, agents, representatives, attorneys, insurers, successors and assigns, from any and all claims that were or could have been pled as part of the litigation under the facts alleged therein. Excluded from this release are any claims for personal injury or wrongful death.

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  12. How do I request to be excluded from the Settlement?

    If you wish to be excluded from the Settlement, you must write the Settlement administrator at the address specified above and request to be excluded. Your request to be excluded from the Settlement must include:

    1. Your full name;
    2. Your current address and telephone number;
    3. The Vehicle Identification Number associated with your Subject Vehicle(s) and the dates of ownership for your Subject Vehicle(s);
    4. A dated signature; and
    5. A written statement that you have reviewed the Class Notice and wish to be excluded from the Settlement.

    To be effective, your request must be postmarked no later than the deadline printed on your Claim Form.

    If you do not complete and timely mail a valid request to be excluded from the Settlement, you will be bound by all terms and conditions of the Settlement, including its release of claims. If you do submit a timely and valid request to be excluded, you will not receive any of the benefits of the Settlement but you will retain the right to sue MBUSA about the legal claims raised in this lawsuit.

    You cannot exclude youself via email or this website.

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  13. May I object to the Settlement?

    You can ask the Court to deny approval of the Settlement by filing an objection to the Settlement. You can’t ask the Court to order a larger Settlement; the Court can only approve or deny the Settlement. If the Court denies approval of the Settlement, no one will receive the repairs or reimbursements provided for by the Settlement, and the lawsuit will continue. If that is what you want to happen, you must object.

    You may object to the proposed Settlement in writing. If you timely do so, you may appear at the Final Approval Hearing (see FAQ 14), either in person or through your own attorney. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for paying that attorney. Your objection must include:

    1. Your full name, current address, and telephone number;
    2. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) associated with the Subject Vehicle(s), and the dates of ownership of the Subject Vehicle(s);
    3. A statement that you have reviewed the Settlement Class definition and understands that you are a Settlement Class Member, and have not opted out of the Settlement Class;
    4. Complete statement of all legal and factual bases for any Objection that you wishes to assert;
    5. A statement of whether you or your attorney intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing;
    6. Copies of any documents or witnesses that support the objection; and
    7. A dated signature.

    Copies of all Objection documents must also be mailed to Class Counsel and Defense Counsel no later than the deadline printed on your Claim Form.

    To be effective, your objection must be postmarked by January 12, 2018. Do not telephone the Court or MBUSA’s counsel.

    Clerk of Court Class Counsel Defense Counsel
    United States District Court
    for the Central District of California
    411 West Fourth Street
    Santa Ana, CA 92701
    FRANK SIMS & STOLPER LLP
    Jason M. Frank
    Scott H. Sims
    19800 MacArthur Blvd.
    Suite 855
    Irvine, CA 92612
    Tel: (949) 201-2400
    Fax: (949) 201-2405

    MCNICHOLAS & MCNICHOLAS LLP
    John Patrick McNicholas
    10866 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1400
    Los Angeles CA 90024
    Tel: (310) 474-1582
    Fax: (310) 475-7871

    YUHL CARR LLP
    Eric F. Yuhl
    Colin A. Yuhl
    4676 Admiralty Way
    Suite 550
    Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
    Tel: (310) 827-2800
    Fax: (310) 827-4200
    SQUIRE PATTON BOGGS (US) LLP
    Troy M. Yoshino (Bar No.197850)
    Eric J. Knapp (Bar No. 214352)
    Steven E. Swaney (Bar No. 221437)
    275 Battery St.
    Suite 2600
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    Tel: (415) 954-0200
    Fax: (415) 393-9887

    If your objection is overruled, you will be bound by the terms of the Settlement. You will not be able to exclude yourself from the Settlement thereafter.

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  14. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court has determined that the law firms of Frank Sims & Stolper LLP, Yuhl Carr LLP and McNicholas & McNicholas LLP are qualified to represent you and members of the class. These lawyers are called “Class Counsel.” Their contact information is below:

    FRANK SIMS & STOLPER LLP
    Jason M. Frank
    Scott H. Sims
    19800 MacArthur Blvd.
    Suite 855
    Irvine, CA 92612
    Tel: (949) 201-2400
    Fax: (949) 201-2405

    MCNICHOLAS & MCNICHOLAS LLP
    John Patrick McNicholas
    10866 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1400
    Los Angeles CA 90024
    Tel: (310) 474-1582
    Fax: (310) 475-7871

    YUHL CARR LLP
    Eric F. Yuhl
    Colin A. Yuhl
    4676 Admiralty Way
    Suite 550
    Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
    Tel: (310) 827-2800
    Fax: (310) 827-4200

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  15. When will the Court consider whether to finally approve the Settlement?

    The Court will hold a hearing on March 5, 2018, at 1:30 p.m., in Courtroom 10C of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, located at 411 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701, to decide whether to finally approve the Settlement. At that time, the Court will also decide whether to approve Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and costs, and the Class Representative Service Award.

    It is not necessary for you to appear at this hearing. If you have timely submitted an objection to the Settlement and a notice of intent to appear, you may appear at the hearing to argue your objection to the Court. Any attorney who will represent you must file a Notice of Appearance with the Court and serve the objection and Notice of Appearance on Class Counsel and counsel for MBUSA, on or before January 12, 2018. You will be solely responsible for the fees and costs of your own attorney.

    The hearing may be postponed without further notice to the Class. Please check this website for updates.

    If the Settlement is not approved, the lawsuit will continue to be prepared for trial or other judicial resolution.

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  16. Who is Epiq? What is your address?

    Epiq is a third party retained to be the Settlement administrator in this matter. For more information about Epiq, you may visit our website, www.EpiqSystems.com.

    If you want to write to us, send a letter by postal mail to: Mercedes-Benz Heater Settlement, P.O. Box 2730, Portland, OR 97208-2730. You can also email us at info@MercedesBenzSeatHeaterSettlement.com.

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  17. What if my address has changed?

    Please send a letter, signed by you and requesting an address update, which includes your former and current mailing addresses. Send the letter to Mercedes- Benz Heater Settlement, P.O. Box 2730, Portland, OR 97208-2730.

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  18. How do I get more information?

    This website provides a summary of the basic terms of the Settlement. For the Settlement’s complete terms and conditions, please consult the Settlement Agreement. You can access the Settlement Agreement and other documents in the Important Documents section. You can also view the entire case file by visiting the Clerk of the Court, located at 411 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701, or by contacting Class Counsel at the addresses provided below:

    FRANK SIMS & STOLPER LLP
    Jason M. Frank
    Scott H. Sims
    19800 MacArthur Blvd.
    Suite 855
    Irvine, CA 92612
    Tel: (949) 201-2400
    Fax: (949) 201-2405

    MCNICHOLAS & MCNICHOLAS LLP
    John Patrick McNicholas
    10866 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1400
    Los Angeles CA 90024
    Tel: (310) 474-1582
    Fax: (310) 475-7871

    YUHL CARR LLP
    Eric F. Yuhl
    Colin A. Yuhl
    4676 Admiralty Way
    Suite 550
    Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
    Tel: (310) 827-2800
    Fax: (310) 827-4200

    PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE OR WRITE THE COURT, THE OFFICE OF THE CLERK, MBUSA, OR MBUSA’S COUNSEL FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THIS SETTLEMENT.

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