On February 7, 2022, the Honorable Judge Kenneth Garrett, III of the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, preliminarily approved a class action settlement in Michael Dinges v. Black & Decker (U.S.), Inc. (Case No. 2116-CV-12037).
The proposed settlement will provide cash payments to all consumers who purchased DEWALT, Porter Cable and Black & Decker brand organic bonded abrasive wheels in the United State between June 7, 2015 and February 7, 2022.
In the lawsuit, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Black & Decker manufactures and sells abrasive wheels that are defective because they fail to inform consumers that the wheels expire. Unbeknownst to consumers, the wheels have a shelf-life. The organic compounds begin to break down over a period of time which makes them susceptible to crack, break, and/or explode. This is highly dangerous to consumers when the product is in use because the abrasive wheels are attached to chop saws and grinders which cause the wheels to spin at a very high velocity so that they can grind and cut through metal, steel, and other materials.
If the abrasive wheel is used after its expiration date, there is a substantial risk that the product could break and seriously injure the consumer and anyone within the vicinity of the power tool.
Defendant has agreed to pay a maximum amount of $850,000.00, inclusive of all cash payments, incentive payments, administrative expenses, costs, and attorney’s fees. Class members who submit a claim form will have two options to receive cash payments from the settlement fund.
Under the first option (“Tier 1”), Defendant will provide all class members, without proof of purchase, a cash payment of $2.50 per unit purchased up to four units for a maximum amount of $10 per household.
Alternatively, under the second option (“Tier 2”), Defendant will provide all class members, with proof of purchase, a cash payment equal to the total amount of such purchases up to a maximum benefit amount of $50. Proof of purchase can be made by any of the following methods: a receipt, canceled check, or credit card statement/electronic statement showing payment.
In addition to these cash payments, Defendant has agreed to change its practices which have substantial value to the class and the public as it relates to health and safety. First, Defendant will include a clear expiration date on all future-manufactured abrasive wheels. Second, Defendant will include a clear warning on all manuals which will inform consumers about the abrasive wheel’s expiration date. Third, Defendant will modify its website so that consumers will be educated about the abrasive wheel’s expiration date and warned not to use it after the expiration date.
A dedicated website (www.bondedabrasivewheelsettlement.com) will soon go live so all class members can obtain information about the settlement. The interactive website will allow class members to access the Settlement Agreement, the Court’s Order Preliminarily Approving the Settlement, the Long-Form Notice, the Short-Form Notice, electronic versions of the Claims Form by which class members may submit such forms online, and a timeline of important dates and deadlines.
The Court has appointed Humphrey, Farrington, & McClain, P.C. to serve as counsel for the class. If you have any questions as to your eligibility to participate in the class settlement, feel free to contact attorney Paul D. Anderson.
HAVE YOU BEEN INJURED?
If you have been injured as a result of an abrasive wheel breaking or exploding, you may be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim. Feel free to contact attorney Paul D. Anderson to discuss your rights. HFM is also currently investigating whether other manufacturers (such as Milwaukee Tools, Makita Tools, Norton / Saint-Gobain, Diablo, Benchmark Abrasives, Metabo) have created wheels that suffer from the same defect. If you have purchased one of these products, please contact us to discuss your rights.