Capacitor Class Action Suit

Thread Starter

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
30,504
If you have purchased an aluminum or tantalum capacitor or a product containing an aluminum or tantalum capacitor between September 1, 1997 and December 31, 2014 or have purchased a film capacitor or a product containing a film capacitor between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2014 (which is practically every one of us and your partner) you could possibly qualify for a piece of a CAD $21.94 million settlement.

https://www.capacitorclassaction.ca/
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
29,878
If it's anything like most class action lawsuits, the lead plaintiffs will get a few thousand dollars, the rest of the participants will get a coupon for a $2.97 discount on their next purchase of these products, and the law firm will get $5 to $10 million in fees plus expenses on top of that.
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
8,680
I can think of two class action suits I have received compensation in. One got me an earbud / microphone for hand free telephony, worth at least $1.29. The other got me a check for about $14,000. So who knows?
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,722
If you have purchased an aluminum or tantalum capacitor or a product containing an aluminum or tantalum capacitor between September 1, 1997 and December 31, 2014 or have purchased a film capacitor or a product containing a film capacitor between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2014 (which is practically every one of us and your partner) you could possibly qualify for a piece of a CAD $21.94 million settlement.

https://www.capacitorclassaction.ca/
Only if you were a Canadian resident during the period covered.
 

Thread Starter

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
30,504
Only if you were a Canadian resident during the period covered.
Surely it's not only Canadians who use capacitors. What about all the people around the world who bought capacitors? Shouldn't they have a stake in this?
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
29,878
Surely it's not only Canadians who use capacitors. What about all the people around the world who bought capacitors? Shouldn't they have a stake in this?
The suit and settlement only covers Canadian residents. It pretty much has to be that way -- a Canadian firm is suing in a Canadian court on behalf of a group of Canadian residents.

I couldn't tell from the information provided for this specific settlement, but typically everyone that is eligible to be in the class is automatically in the settlement unless they explicitly opt out of it. In U.S. class action cases, the notice has to make that clear. By ignoring the notice that they get, which most people do, they are waiving their rights to ever sue any of the plaintiffs with regards to this issue. That's one of the purposes of a class action -- to arrive at a final settlement and put a matter to rest.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,722
Surely it's not only Canadians who use capacitors. What about all the people around the world who bought capacitors? Shouldn't they have a stake in this?
I agree, but that's not who is covered in the lawsuits:
1697334572891.png

I didn't see anything about proof of purchase or coverage for someone who bought hundreds/thousands of capacitors during that timeframe.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
29,878
I didn't see anything about proof of purchase or coverage for someone who bought hundreds/thousands of capacitors during that timeframe.
That's pretty typical -- and is usually a strong indication that the settlement will be worth next to nothing except for the small handful of prototypical plaintiffs and, of course, the lawyers.

Sometimes the final settlement offers some additional compensation for people that can show that they had huge exposure, but it is also often not worth the extra effort of trying to claim it because of the hoops that you have to jump through.

Occasionally there will be a class action in which to be a member of the class you have to have proof up front of your exposure (which is sometimes contained in the records of the defendants that are provided to the court) -- those are the ones that tend to result in much more substantial payments to the typical class member.

I don't know if this practice is still allowed, but a common tactic used by class action law firms was to estimate the maximum number of people eligible for membership in the class and then distribute the settlement to the people that explicitly joined the settlement on a pro rata basis. Then they got the court to appoint them, as part of the settlement, to act as the agent for anyone that didn't join, usually claiming that there were people that, for whatever reason, weren't properly notified. For this service, they were paid out of the remaining settlement funds so much per year, with the settlement due to anyone that joined later being reduced by the fraction of the residual that had been paid in administrative fees. It was usually structured to that after ten or twenty years the settlement fund would have been eaten up by the admin fees and the settlement would terminate at that point. Of course, the lawyers knew that very, very few people that didn't join the settlement group up front would ever join later, so they inflated the number of potential members as much as possible (by, for instance, including anyone that had ever purchased any product that contained this item over a period of a decade or two) so that the payments that actually went out were highly diluted in order to reserve enough of the settlement fund to pay for all of the people that didn't receive timely notice. Part and parcel of this was the law firm agreeing to a smaller contingency fee (perhaps 25% instead of 40% or even more), but at the end of the day this often resulting in well over 90% of the settlement fund ending up in the lawyers' pockets. This got some press a couple of decades ago and some congress critters did some amount of public hand-wringing, but I don't know what, if anything, was ever done to address it.
 

Boggart

Joined Jan 31, 2022
82
Just got a payment for the Takata airbag class action here in Australia, wasn't expecting much but turned out to be $846, which was a nice surprise. So, you never know...
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
8,974
Given the qualification for class membership it covers virtually every person in Canada born before about 1990 and quite a few born after that. Also given the settlement amount, if this is widely publicized the individual settlement amount could run what, $1.00 or so?

If it wasn’t heavily subscribed you might get $3.00 or $4.00.
 

Thread Starter

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
30,504
I am heavily involved in electronics and this is the first time that I am made aware of this. As this would apply to just about everyone in the population, what is the likelihood that the rest of the population is unaware of this?

How would someone show proof of purchase for a purchase made 10-25 years ago?
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
29,878
I am heavily involved in electronics and this is the first time that I am made aware of this. As this would apply to just about everyone in the population, what is the likelihood that the rest of the population is unaware of this?

How would someone show proof of purchase for a purchase made 10-25 years ago?
The methods used to notify people vary quite a bit. In the U.S. (which is probably similar to Canada), it used to be it was all by mail. At one point I was getting three or four notifications of class action settlements a week. Most of these were blanket bulk-rate mailings, but some were because I was on a list of customers or something similarly more specific. Now I go months between getting a notification in the mail and the big approach seems to be TV advertisements, but even those are only for a few cases (just a LOT of ads for the same case) since TV ad time is so expensive. I've seen some in newspapers and magazine ads, but I don't know how prevalent those are. I imagine a lot of notifications go out by junk e-mail. I get a few that way, but seldom anything but the widest, generic, spam-like ones.

Most people will not join, but will still be included so as to forfeit their rights to sue separately. If they don't join, they may or may not have the ability to claim compensation from the settlement fund later -- depends on the terms of the settlement.

As for proof of purchase, when the eligibility is so broad, they almost always accept a signature on the claim form (which, after all, is a sworn legal document subjecting the person to perjury charges if false) as sufficient. In most settlements, the lawyers don't care if even the overwhelming majority of the claimants are bogus (which is unlikely).
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,722
If it's anything like most class action lawsuits, the lead plaintiffs will get a few thousand dollars, the rest of the participants will get a coupon for a $2.97 discount on their next purchase of these products, and the law firm will get $5 to $10 million in fees plus expenses on top of that.
I just received a reminder ($12.50 check) that I received about $7500 in the High Tech Antitrust Litigation Settlement.
 
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