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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I received my Class action Proposed Settlement letter yesterday.

You have 3 options:
1) Exclude youself from the settlement. Retain the right to seek your own resolution. You will not receive any eventual settlement provided to the Class.
2) Do nothing. This is a tacit Support of the proposed settlement. Let the Court review, and likely accept the proposal. You're in.
3) Object to the Settlement. While still being a part of any eventual resolution, you can have a voice to the Court.

I am filing an Objection, as below. Note: THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A FORM LETTER / TEMPLATE.
IF, AFTER REVIEWING THE SETTLEMENT PROPOSAL, IF YOU HAVE OBJECTIONS, WRITE YOUR OWN LETTER.

>>>>> My purpose for sharing my letter here is to get you thinking, because I am not confident that the proposal actually fixes the issue <<<<<<


Note: I have removed my personal information - it is REQUIRED to file an Objection to the Court.

< start letter >

Clerk of the Court,
San Jose Division
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
280 S. First Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Girard Gibbs LLP
c/o Eric H. Gibbs
601 California Street
Suite 100
San Francisco, CA 94108

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
c/o David W. Ichel
425 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10017

SUBJECT: Class member’s objection to proposed settlement.

REFERENCE: Proposed settlement: Sugarman, et al v. Ducati North America, Inc. Case No: 5:10-cv-05246

Class Member:
Name: XXXXXXXXX
Address: XXXXXXX
Tel: XXXXXXXXXXX
Motorcycle: 2007 Ducati GT1000, originally red
Appearance at 1/6/12 Fairness Hearing: No, and no separate counsel representation
Objection(s) to any other Class Settlements in past 5 years: No


OBJECTION: The proposed solution of “extended warranties and improved parts” is an inappropriate remedy for me, and likely other Ducati owners. Simply, the tank expansion became an elevated safety risk over the years, and required unilateral attempts to remedy if I wished to continue using the motorcycle in a safe manner. The permanent remediation I implemented cost more than this proposed settlement, while simultaneously prohibiting me from the capability of making a warranty claim via the proposed extended warranty coverage, because I have implemented a permanent fix via modification to the tank. Additionally, and importantly, it is likely this proposed settlement by Ducati is only a temporary remedy.


DETAILS:
• My motorcycle experienced fuel tank expansion, to the degree that it separated from the 2 mounting brackets.
• I did not experience steering interference since the bike had the “handlebar riser” accessory installed by the Ducati dealer, which results in the handlebars being elevated from the fuel tank. I did not experience any fuel leakage at the fuel pump.
• Ducati was not offering a remedy at the time (2009)when I contacted the 2 local Ducati dealers:
• My email to Barnet's Suzuki Ducati Moto Guzzi, Raleigh NC went unanswered. I got the run-around on phone calls.
• My email to Matison Motorsports, Raleigh NC received this response:
"Sorry, we currently do not perform warranty work for Ducati. They owe us well over $10,000 in unpaid warranty claims. Evidently they cannot afford to pay us. Until they make good on the unpaid work, we cannot assist them further with their extensive warranty problems. We have suffered a huge financial loss due to this problem."

• 1st unilateral remediation attempt: I therefore purchased longer replacement bolts and washers, removed the tank, and extended the mounting brackets away from the frame. This provided a temporary remedy for 1 riding season (cost: -$10, my labor)
• The tank continued to expand; I purchased longer bolts and additional washers (eventually 5 per side), removed the tank and retrofitted the brackets a second time. Eventually, the tank separated from the brackets again. I did not extend the brackets a third time, as I no longer felt that this was a safe, viable alternative.
Note in this picture, taken from the ground looking up under the tank, the (1) rubber tank foot is falling out of the (2) metal mounting bracket, despite the use of (3) a longer bolt and 5 washers on both sides of the tank to move the mounting bracket out from the frame. The expansion was slightly > 1 inch at this point.



NOTE: SINCE I HAVE REVISED THE MOUNTING BRACKETS TWICE WITHOUT PERMANENT SUCCESS, I AM CONCERNED THAT DUCATI’S PROPOSED FIX FOR “NON-COSMETIC PROBLEMS” WILL NOT WORK FOR OTHER OWNERS IN THE LONG TERM: “… Ducati will install a new fastener kit to ensure the fuel tank remains attached to the front mounting brackets”.
Insufficient information is provided in the proposed settlement to draw any conclusion.

• 2nd unilateral remediation attempt: after several months, I eventually located a compatible, nearly-new but scratched black GT1000 fuel tank on eBay (-$259)
• After significant research online and communication with other Ducati owners, I purchased Caswell phenol novolac epoxy tank sealer and immediately cleaned and sealed the tank myself. (-$60). Other tank sealants may have also been acceptable.
• I eventually purchased used black front and rear fenders to match the tank. I removed but did not replace the red side covers. (-$239)
• I then collectively sold my original deformed red tank, the red fenders, and the red side covers on eBay, suffering some (unmeasured) financial injury since I disclosed the severity of the tank expansion in the eBay listing (+ $420 from the sale)


SUMMARY:
- I spent many hours determining a unilateral remedy, with no Ducati support.
- The fix I eventually implemented cost me approximately $200, over months, using used parts. I doubt anyone else implemented a permanent fix for less, unless they knew of this issue and sealed the plastic tank immediately upon taking delivery of the new bike.
- The remedy I finally implemented could not have worked for all Ducati owners with plastic tanks : only a relative few members of the Class can find an appropriate used tank, as well as sell their existing tank as I was able to.
- Noting that elapsed time span of bikes with plastic tanks in the proposed settlement ranges from 2003 – 2011, I wonder if the proper remedy of 8 years of defective tank production is resolved by mildly extending a warranty.
- Since my replacement tank is not original to the bike, and has been “modified” by me (the Caswell epoxy sealant) I doubt it would be a candidate for a warranty claim…. And besides, it appears that I was able to fix it permanently (9 months with no tank expansion), where apparently over a multi-year span Ducati couldn’t proactively determine the issue, identify corrective remedy, and contact owners / resolve in a timely manner.
- It is not clear to me that the proposed MECHANICAL change can adequately resolve a likely CHEMISTRY issue.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my concerns with the proposed settlement.

Sincerely,

< end letter >
 

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Discussion Starter #2
BTW, in the proposed settlement "Ducati acknowledges that the increased addition of ethanol to gasoline in the US, under certain combinations of conditions, has caused the thermoplastic fuel tanks on a small percentage of its customers motorcycles to expand, generally only by very small amounts measured by just a few millimeters ..."

25.4 mm = 1 inch.

-> is 25.4 mm just "a few mm"?
Go back and look at my tank pic.
Maybe it isn't the ethanol... but that tank has certainly expanded by more than a "few millimeters" !

(sorry for making you click the link.... I can't get the image to post directly, despite reviewing the Help stuff. Maybe somebody can patch it for me?)
 

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Bon Vivant
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I have also written a response to this settlement. I encourage others who have bikes involved in the suit to write.

I will not publicly post my letter but if anyone would like to use it as a template I will email you a copy.
I also do not want others to use my words, your objections or comments should be your own.
 

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Blame the universe not the tank!
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It would be nice to take a class action suit against the class action suit. Or would there be a recourse for those who do not attach themselves to the class action suit to bring a separate suit? Any lawyers make sense of this?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Section 18 - "How will the lawyers be paid and will there be service awards to the named plaintiffs?"

"Class Council will ask the court for attorney's fees and expenses based on the actual time it's lawyers and other personnel have expended on the case up to $835,000...."

Gilly, maybe we can get a Groupon for legal services ;) ?
 

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Bon Vivant
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I strongly encourage everyone who got a notice on this class action to write and either object to the settlement or to exclude yourself from the settlement.

I wrote an objection but here's why I think you should exclude yourself:

Once the settlement is accepted Ducati will be legally bound by it's terms and cannot make any exceptions.

The settlement states that any replacement tank has only one year of warranty for defects and 6 month for cosmetic issues arising from expansion.
So, once you get your first new tank that one has a very limited warranty and as we know it will likely expand again but this time it will probably be out of warranty and Ducati will not replace it.

Under the current terms (someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this because I could not find official supporting documents) the fuel tank is covered by a federally mandated 5 year emissions warranty. That means you can have as many replacement tanks as you need in those five years.

So If you have a bike that is less than two years old the settlement will reduce your warranty once you have your first replacement tank.

This settlement is a bad deal and we all need to let them know.
 

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Bon Vivant
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With some further thought I think an objection is far more productive than excluding yourself from the suit.

WE need to have our opinions heard in this case, the settlement is pathetic and releases Ducati from ever developing a proper fuel tank.

Come on guys, there should be 30 pages in this thread not 6 posts by 3 guys.
Get off your lazy asses and do something :mad:

Who's writing an objection?
 

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Blame the universe not the tank!
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Funny how they put you in the pickle and you have to choose between objection and exclusion. Since you cannot tell the freakin future, it's difficult at best to know which is the better path.

I believe that objection may be the righteous path. The battle line has been established. If the settlement goes through, it will be because no one objected or the court was not provided enough feedback to warrant looking at it from an owners perspective.

Choosing "exclusion", to me, sort of implies that you will get a posse up and start your own litigation. I doubt this very much. I doubt owners will sue DNA on their own. So exclusion seems like the "trick answer" for those who hate the thought of the decision passing.

So for me, I object your Honor!

Doing nothing, well many will choose this path. It's easy. No paperwork to fill out. They can say whatever they like and even lie about how they objected or asked to be excluded even though they did nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
FWIW, I think a few fact-based, well-written Objection letters will go further than a pile of poorly-writen, weakly argued opinions. So if you're going to write to the Court, put on you're thinking cap, and use spell-check too. Don't dilute the Objection pool!

Leave those high-paid lawyers from NYC with the impression that you can intelligently carry your side of the argument.

I have some Crayolas and line paper for your use if you feel the urge to write a letter of Support :)
 

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Bon Vivant
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FWIW, I think a few fact-based, well-written Objection letters will go further than a pile of poorly-writen, weakly argued opinions. So if you're going to write to the Court, put on you're thinking cap, and use spell-check too. Don't dilute the Objection pool!

Leave those high-paid lawyers from NYC with the impression that you can intelligently carry your side of the argument.

I have some Crayolas and line paper for your use if you feel the urge to write a letter of Support :)
I don't care what people write as long as they do.

The lack of activity on this thread is appalling and unacceptable. :mad:

There at least a half dozen threads on the tank subject with literally hundreds of people screaming about the problem.

But now that the opportunity has come to make yourself heard where are you guys?

How about all you guys from this thread? or this thread?

What about all you sport classic owners? are you writing an objection to the settlement? There are hundreds of pages on the subject on the SC section. what are you doing about it?

Are you guys all willing to accept this? You're all named as class members in the lawsuit.

I can't believe that this thread and this subject isn't on fire right now. Are you all that apathetic?
 

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Yeah, I'm with you guys about the need to object. I will. Why would I want an f'n warranty and not a fix?

That said, you guys know that this is going nowhere. As someone said, the deal is stacked against us. Maybe there will be 100 objections. Big deal. There will be thousands where it will be put on the back burner and the important parties will get it just the way they intended. Non respondents side with the settlement. Law office happy and PM SpA happy that they contained the potential loss. Who's left now to complain? Game over.

The economy in most places stinks and has stunk for years. I can understand that they want to stop the bleeding, but I don't think this will do them any good in the long run. Maybe they don't care about the long run.

There's another chapter to go in here:
http://www.ducati.ms/forums/11-ducati-motorcycle-chat/48830-ducati-sold-performance-motorcycles-spa-taken-private.html
 

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Bon Vivant
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Yeah, I'm with you guys about the need to object. I will. Why would I want an f'n warranty and not a fix?

That said, you guys know that this is going nowhere. As someone said, the deal is stacked against us. Maybe there will be 100 objections. Big deal. There will be thousands where it will be put on the back burner and the important parties will get it just the way they intended. Non respondents side with the settlement. Law office happy and PM SpA happy that they contained the potential loss. Who's left now to complain? Game over.

The economy in most places stinks and has stunk for years. I can understand that they want to stop the bleeding, but I don't think this will do them any good in the long run. Maybe they don't care about the long run.

There's another chapter to go in here:
http://www.ducati.ms/forums/11-ducati-motorcycle-chat/48830-ducati-sold-performance-motorcycles-spa-taken-private.html
You may be right but I'm still going to do what I can.
 

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I'll be writing an objection. I would like to exclude myself, but I don't see how another lawsuit could be brought with enough force to do any better.

The key is to point out the obvious shortcomings, how it backs us into a corner of accepting a solution that isn't a solution at all. Safety hazards exist and will increase. The problem is much more serious than the proposed solutions can account for. The tanks won't stop warping. They will expand, hit controls, destroy the paint, and completely ruin any resale value of the bikes.

A tough economy like this will punish and cripple stupid companies, as well it should. The banks were stupid but managed a bail-out. Acerbis and Ducati were stupid with these tanks, and even dumber by pursuing this type of settlement. Now they're trying to get bailed out by their lawyers. They should pay the price. If that means going out of business, then that's the toll. Next time they should know to hire an engineer or two who won't wreck their reputation.
 

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With some further thought I think an objection is far more productive than excluding yourself from the suit.

WE need to have our opinions heard in this case, the settlement is pathetic and releases Ducati from ever developing a proper fuel tank.

Come on guys, there should be 30 pages in this thread not 6 posts by 3 guys.
Get off your lazy asses and do something :mad:

Who's writing an objection?
I have done so. Mailed Monday. What surprises me is that there appear to be multitudes who had no idea there even was a problem until they received the settlement notice. Now we are seeing the "Ducati owes me a metal tank!" threads. Sad.
 

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I'm surprised as well. The settlement is pretty weak and appears to leave many owners between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Frankly I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do. The damage this issue has done to the brand is immeasurable. I know a lot of owners, including active members of this forum, that own multiple models at a time and buy at least one new motorcycle a year, who have simply decided not to waste the energy and have moved on to buying other brands.

This isn't going to be pretty...











I don't care what people write as long as they do.

The lack of activity on this thread is appalling and unacceptable. :mad:

There at least a half dozen threads on the tank subject with literally hundreds of people screaming about the problem.

But now that the opportunity has come to make yourself heard where are you guys?

How about all you guys from this thread? or this thread?

What about all you sport classic owners? are you writing an objection to the settlement? There are hundreds of pages on the subject on the SC section. what are you doing about it?

Are you guys all willing to accept this? You're all named as class members in the lawsuit.

I can't believe that this thread and this subject isn't on fire right now. Are you all that apathetic?
 

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Resident Raggamuffin
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I know a lot of owners, including active members of this forum, that own multiple models at a time and buy at least one new motorcycle a year, who have simply decided not to waste the energy and have moved on to buying other brands.
^ this. not sure how much or how little it factored into my own buying/selling decisions but one thing is for certain, there are no Ducatis in my garage for the first time in over five years.

they need to get it together, and just not on the fuel tank front.
 

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MANY THANKS to those of you that have experienced issues and are objecting to the Settlement rather than merely excluding yourself from the class! Don't get me wrong, I have no significant opinion regarding exclusion (you just have to weight the costs/benefits), but Objecting is most important! I love the draft letter Sleepless, particularly the technical detail. But also for the expression that from what you have been through you have first-hand reason to believe many/most Class Members are still unaware, and the Settlement is therefore not sufficient or fair.

I say this as a (presently) unaffected member of the class. I live in an area where I have not had to use Ethanol. However, I am greatly concerned that this issue has been difficult for so many on this Forum because most (a large number) have not been impacted (yet) by this issue! Sadly, that unknowing group may be a unfortunately powerful voice in their decision to not respond because they know of no danger. They have not (yet) been impacted by this as others have!

Despite my not being personally harmed (yet), I am Objecting and writing my letter!

While this is a serious issue, I will add that if anyone has had a SAFETY ISSUE...something that could have or did cause personal harm, etc...that needs to be shouted loudly! I am a licensed attorney, and while I do not specialize in Class Actions, the Proposed Settlement has a "smell" of being a resolution to something that poses no safety harm. I also think this being a likely latent defect for most today (a defect not visible today but able to emerge later) is not helping either. The extended warranty just does not do justice for a latent defect, unless the extended warranty starts upon discovery of the defect.
 

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after much thought I plan on objecting the settlement. I purchased my 2009 1100s on march 15th, 2011 so I believe its covered under the federal law for another 5 years. I also feel that the way ducati is handling this is BS and I will not be buying another one anytime soon I am, sadly, having thoughts of selling my bike and just being done with it.:(

joe
 
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