Capitalized terms have the meanings set forth in the Agreement of Compromise and Settlement (the "Settlement Agreement").
The following information updates the previous FAQs. It reflects the following developments: the period for objecting to the settlement, or for class members to exclude themselves from the settlement class, has passed; after hearing, the Court granted final approval of the settlement; certain persons who had objected to the settlement filed an appeal, and that appeal has been voluntarily dismissed with prejudice. As a result of that dismissal, the Effective Date of the settlement is May 28, 2015.
Plaintiffs claimed that MW’s Vinyl-Clad Windows contain certain design and/or manufacturing defects that make them susceptible to degrading prematurely leading to wood rot and staining, warping or discoloration. Plaintiffs brought specific claims under theories of breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, and violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, M.G.L. c. 93A §§ 2 and 9. Defendant denies Plaintiffs’ allegations and claims that there is nothing wrong with the MW Vinyl-Clad Windows. The Court has made no determination about the strengths or weaknesses of any of Plaintiffs’ contentions or any of Defendant’s defenses. Instead, Plaintiffs and the Defendant have entered into a Settlement to end the Litigation.
In a class action, one or more people called “Named Plaintiffs” (in this case John Gulbankian, Robert D. Callahan, Eric Hartshorn, and Bethany Perry) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All of these people are Settlement Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who timely exclude themselves from the class.
The Court decided that the Settlement Class includes all individuals or entities that own or have owned homes, residences, buildings, or other Structures physically located in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or U.S. Virgin Islands that contain or have contained vinyl-clad wood-framed windows manufactured by MW Manufacturers, Inc. from January 1, 1987 to and including May 23, 2014, including, but not limited to, double-hung, casement, awning, sliding, fixed, special shape, picture, transom, and sidelight windows sold under the names V-Wood, Freedom (a/k/a "Freedom Clad" or "MW Clad"), Freedom 600 (a/k/a “Builder Series 600” or “Series 600”), Revere, or Freedom 800 (a/k/a “Pro Series 800” or “Series 800”).
If you are not sure whether you are in the Settlement Class, or have any other questions about the Settlement, please read the information on this website or call the toll-free number, 1-866-752-0068. You may also write with questions to MW Manufacturers Vinyl Clad Window Settlement, PO Box 2995, Portland, OR 97208-2995 or send an e-mail to info@MWManufacturersVinylCladWindowSettlement.com.
Yes. The following are not included in the Settlement:
The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or the Defendant. Instead, both sides agreed to settle this case to avoid the cost and risk of a trial. The proposed Settlement does not mean that any law was broken or that the Defendant did anything wrong. The Defendant denies all legal claims in this case. Named Plaintiffs and their lawyers think the proposed Settlement is best for all Settlement Class Members.
The Parties have agreed on an amount of compensation that each Settlement Class Member with a timely and valid claim will receive for each covered window. The amount will be adjusted based on a calculation that accounts for the specific size and age of the window and the geographic region of the Structure containing the window.
The payment for a MW Vinyl-Clad Window with Qualifying Damage will be based on the percentages listed in Question 8. “Age of Window” is calculated from the date the window was manufactured to the date the complete Claim Form for the window is postmarked or otherwise received by the Claims Administrator. “Percentage of RS Means Recoverable” is the percentage of the agreed-upon value which the Settlement Class Member will be paid.
In order to be eligible to file a claim to receive benefits, you must have suffered “Qualifying Damage.” The Settlement Agreement defines Qualifying Damage as “Level 1 Damage” or “Level 2 Damage.” These two terms are defined as follows:
In order to receive a payment, you must file a Claim Form and provide the required documentation of your claim as described in Question 9 below. You are not eligible to file a claim for a payment under this Agreement if: 1) you already settled or resolved your claim directly with the Defendant (except that you may submit a claim if it was not resolved through litigation resulting in a final judgment or dismissal, and if you did not sign a written release of the claim); 2) your claim is based upon a MW Vinyl-Clad Window that was manufactured either before or after the Class Period; or 3) you already received reimbursement from your insurer for the same window. (However, if the reimbursement you received from the insurer is less than the amount you would be entitled to under the Settlement, you may be eligible to file a claim for the difference.)
Payments for valid claims will be calculated as follows:
Level 1 Relief (In Warranty). The following schedule will be applied to calculate compensation for each MW Vinyl-Clad Window determined to have Level 1 Damage where a Claim Form is postmarked or otherwise received by the Claims Administrator within the window’s applicable Warranty Period.
|Age of Window
0 to 1 year
1 to 2 years
2 to 3 years
3 to 4 years
4 to 5 years
5 to 6 years
6 to 7 years
7 to 8 years
8 to 9 years
9 to 10 years
|Percentage of RS Means Recoverable
40% to 50%
37.5% to 47.5%
35% to 45%
32.5% to 42.5%
30% to 40%
27.5% to 37.5%
25% to 35%
22.5% to 32.5%
20% to 30%
17.5% to 27.5%
Payment for Level 1 Relief (In Warranty) claims will be subject to adjustment, depending on the number of valid claims received.
Level 1 Relief (Out of Warranty). The following schedule will be applied to calculate compensation for each MW Vinyl-Clad Window determined to have Level 1 Damage where a Claim Form is postmarked or otherwise received by the Claims Administrator outside the window’s applicable Warranty Period.
|Age of Window
10 to 15 years
15 to 20 years
Older than 20 years
|Percentage of RS Means Recoverable
Level 2 Relief. The following schedule will be applied to calculate compensation for each MW Vinyl-Clad Window determined to have Level 2 Damage.
|Age of Window
0 to 5 years
5 to 10 years
10 to 15 years
15 to 20 years
Older than 20 years
|Percentage of RS Means Recoverable
If you file a claim and are awarded Level 2 Relief for any MW Vinyl-Clad Window, you may later submit a new Claim Form seeking Level 1 Relief for the same window, provided that the amount of any Level 1 Relief received in this situation will be reduced by the value of any compensation or benefits previously received under this Settlement.
If you submit a claim and receive a payment for Level 1 Relief (In Warranty) or Level 1 Relief (Out of Warranty) for any MW Vinyl-Clad Window, you may not later submit a new Claim Form seeking any additional relief for the same window.
To receive a payment, you must properly complete a Claim Form and provide all photographs and other supporting documentation required by the Claim Form to the Claims Administrator on or before the Claim Deadline which, for claims for Level 1 Damage, is the later of: (1) May 28, 2016, or (2) the period remaining on the window's Warranty Period; and, for claims for Level 2 Damage, is May 28, 2016. Claim Forms can be downloaded here, or you may contact the Claims Administrator by telephone at 1-866-752-0068, or in writing to the MW Manufacturers Vinyl Clad Window Settlement, PO Box 2995, Portland, OR 97208-2995.
In order for your claim to be valid, you must also submit the following photographs and other supporting documentation:
If you are a former owner of the Structure and wish to file a Claim Form, you must submit all of the photographs and other supporting documentation listed above in sections a-g, as well as a written assignment agreement executed by you and the buyer of the Structure indicating that you retained the right to pursue a remedy against Defendant for damage to the window that is the subject of a claim. Settlement Class Members who have assigned their rights to former owners under this Section shall not be eligible to receive a payment under the Settlement.
When filing your claim, you must make your best effort to submit photographs of sufficient quality to establish the condition of each window that is the subject of a claim so the nature and extent of any affected areas can be determined. All photographs should be labeled with your name and address, and should identify the location in the Structure of the window shown. You must identify exactly what window is depicted in each photograph. You must cooperate with requests to provide any other information as reasonably is needed to determine if your claim is valid.
If you did not receive a Claim Form by mail, or if you need to obtain one or more additional Claim Forms, you should contact the Claims Administrator in any of the following ways: (1) by telephone by calling the Claims Administrator’s toll-free telephone number, 1-866-752-0068; (2) by United States mail by writing to the MW Manufacturers Vinyl Clad Window Settlement, PO Box 2995, Portland, OR 97208-2995 or by downloading the forms from this website here .
You may not use a third-party claim filing service to file your claim. If you need assistance with filing your claim or have questions about the Claim Form, you may call the Claims Administrator at 1-866-752-0068 or send your inquiry via e-mail to info@MWManufacturersVinylCladWindowSettlement.com. You may also contact any of the Class Counsel listed in Question 15 below. You may also hire your own attorney if you wish to assist you.
The Claims Administrator will begin processing claims now that the Settlement has been approved and has become final. You will be notified in writing if you fail to submit all of the information, photographs, and other supporting documentation required to be filed with your Claim Form. An explanation of what additional information, photographs, or documentation you need to submit will be included in the deficiency letter. If you do not provide the requested information within thirty (30) Days from the date of the deficiency letter, your claim will be denied. You will have the ability to re-file your claim as long as it is before the Claim Deadline.
If your Claim Form is received on time and is complete, the Claims Administrator will send you a notice accepting your claim. Payment for valid claims will be made as provided for in the Settlement Agreement.
If your properly submitted claim form is denied in whole or in part, you will have the right to appeal the denial to an "Independent Claims Reviewer." The following procedures will apply to all appeals:
The Independent Claims Reviewer will be selected by Class Counsel and Defendant, subject to the Court’s approval. A denial of a claim for failure to submit all of the information, photographs, and other supporting documentation required to be filed with your Claim Form is not appealable to the Independent Claims Reviewer.
The deadline for being excluded from the Settlement was September 13, 2014 and has now passed. Unless you excluded yourself from the Settlement by that date, you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendant about the issues in this case, including any existing litigation, arbitration, or proceeding. Unless you excluded yourself, all of the decisions and judgments by the Court will bind you. If you file a Claim Form for benefits or did nothing at all, you have released the Defendant from all of the claims described and identified in sections 13.1 and 13.2 of the Settlement Agreement.
Unless you excluded yourself by the deadline above, the settlement will replace the remaining manufacturer’s warranty, if any, for your MW Vinyl-Clad Window. Any remaining warranty for glass or hardware will not be affected by the settlement, even if you did not exclude yourself. For more detailed information regarding the settlement’s effect on your warranties, please refer to section 5.29 of the Settlement Agreement, which is available here.
The Settlement Agreement is available here. The Settlement Agreement provides more detail regarding the release and describes the released claims with specific descriptions in necessary, accurate legal terminology, so read it carefully. You can talk to the law firms representing the Class listed in Question 15 for free or you can, at your own expense, talk to your own lawyer if you have any questions about the released claims or what they mean.
No. If you excluded yourself, you may not apply for any benefits under the Settlement. If you asked to be excluded by the September 13, 2014 deadline, however, you may sue or be part of a different lawsuit against the Defendant in the future. You will not be bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.
Unless you excluded yourself by the September 13, 2014 deadline for requesting exclusion, you gave up the right to sue the Defendant for all of the claims that the proposed Settlement resolves. You must have excluded yourself from this Settlement Class by September 13, 2014 to start your own lawsuit relating to the claims in this case.
The deadline for being excluded from the Settlement was September 13, 2014.
The Court has designated the following individuals as Class Counsel:
Charles J. LaDuca and Michael J. Flannery of Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP; Robert K. Shelquist of Lockridge, Grindal, Nauen, PLLP; Michael McShane of Audet & Partners, LLP; Charles E. Schaffer of Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman; and Shawn J. Wanta of Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta, LLP.
You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer in this case, you may hire one at your own expense.
The Court granted Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees in the amount of $2 million and costs in an amount of $500,000, to be paid by Defendant. The Court also approved Class Counsel’s request for incentive awards of $5,000 per Named Plaintiff, also to be paid by Defendant. Class members will not be responsible for the fees and expenses of Class Counsel, and the payment of attorneys’ fees and expenses will not reduce the benefits to Settlement Class Members.
The deadline to object to the Settlement was September 13, 2014.
The deadline for objecting and asking to be excluded was September 13, 2014. Consequently, this question no longer applies.
On October 29, 2014, at 2:00 p.m., the Court held a public hearing at the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse, located at 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, MA 02210, to determine whether the Settlement Class was properly certified and whether the Settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable and should be finally approved, with judgment entered accordingly. The Court considered Class Counsel’s application for an award of attorneys’ fees and expense reimbursement, incentive awards for the Named Plaintiffs, and any opposition thereto.
The fairness hearing was held on October 29, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Consequently, this question no longer applies.
More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You may also write with questions to MW Manufacturers Vinyl Clad Window Settlement, PO Box 2995, Portland, OR 97208-2995 or send an e-mail to info@MWManufacturersVinylCladWindowSettlement.com. You can get a Claim Form here, or have a Claim Form mailed to you by calling 1-866-752-0068. You may also seek advice and guidance from your own private attorney at your own expense.
Please do not write or telephone the Court, MW Manufacturers, Inc., or any MW Manufacturers, Inc. or Ply Gem Window dealer or agent for information about the Class Settlement or this lawsuit.