Thursday, April 12, 2012
RECALLS FROM NHTSA FOR MARCH 2012
Peterson industries, Inc. (Peterson Industries) is recalling certain model year 2012 Excel Limited recreational vehicles, equipped with electric/hydraulic (E/H) brake actuator pumps. Some of these pumps may not have been properly heat treated. This condition can cause premature wear of some critical components in these pumps which can render the unit inoperable. The E/H brake actuator provides braking power to the trailer brakes. Failure of the actuator can result in the loss of braking effort by the trailer, increasing the risk of a crash. Peterson Industries will notify owners, and dealers will replace the actuators, free of charge. Peterson Industries has not provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Peterson Industries at 1-800-368-3759.
Coachmen RV is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Mirada and Encounter recreational vehicles built on a Ford F-53 chassis, manufactured from February 1, 2010, through February 17, 2012. The gear shifter's cable may break at the attachment to the transmission control selector arm assembly mounted on the steering column. If the cable breaks, the transmission gear indicator in the gear display in the instrument panel will remain in the first gear position regardless of the gear selected. An incorrect gear indication in the instrument panel may prevent the driver from knowing if they are in park or reverse, increasing the risk of a crash. Coachmen RV will notify owners, and dealers will replace the transmission selector arm assembly and the gear shifter's cable assembly, free of charge. Coachmen RV has not provided a notification schedule for this campaign. Owners may contact Coachmen RV at 1-800-453-6064.
Cruiser RV is recalling certain model year 2013 Enterra recreational vehicles, models EE303BHS, and
E314RES, manufactured from December 16, 2011, through February 17, 2012. These vehicles have the
incorrect federal id tag, tire and wheel information labels which fail to comply with the requirements of Part 567, "Certification." Failure to follow proper tire and wheel specifications because of a misprinted label could increase the risk of a crash. Cruiser RV will mail to consumers the corrected label or the customer will have the option
for dealers to install the label free of charge. The safety recall began on March 16, 2012. Owners may contact Cruiser RV at 1-877-514-7289.
Gulf Stream is recalling certain model year 2001-2005 class "A" and "C" recreational vehicles, built on floorplans 6316, 6317, 6330, 8325 and 8328, due to a section of unsecured wiring. See the above list for the models affected. The wiring within the raceway may not be properly secured leading to wear and potential heat development between the exposed wiring and heated refrigerator coils. This condition could lead to failure of the 110 volt electrical wiring routed to the microwave cabinet, increasing the risk of fire, personal injury, or property damage. Gulf Stream will notify owners and dealers will repair the vehicles, free of charge. The safety recall began on April 4, 2012. Owners may contact Gulf Stream at 1-800-482-6456. Gulf Stream's recall number is 12WG-0105.
Spartan is recalling certain model year 2012 K2 and MG chassis manufactured from December 15, 2011, through January 31, 2012, and equipped with 3030 brake chambers. These vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 121, "Air Brake Systems" because they do not meet the park brake and draw bar requirements. The park brake may not hold the vehicle in place and if the vehicle moves, injury or property damage could occur without warning. Spartan will notify owners and install improved brake chambers, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule for this campaign. Owners may contact Spartan at 1-517-543-6400. Spartan's safety recall number is 12005.
THE FORMALDEHYDE AND THE KATRINA TRAILERS CASE STILL OUT THERE
More than six years after the first travel trailers began arriving in the Gulf Coast following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a settlement is pending for the lawsuits filed after toxic levels of formaldehyde were found in those recreational vehicles.
Today, April 9, is the deadline for RV manufacturers and the displaced hurricane victims who lived in the units to submit a proposed class settlement agreement to the Eastern District Court of Louisiana. This will not end the litigation but will start the process towards a conclusion.
“It’s a very complicated, multi-district litigation,” said Justin Woods, attorney with Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier, the firm serving as the plaintiff’s liaison counsel. At one time, 85,000 individuals filed claims against more than 64 manufacturers as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Once the joint agreement is filed, any plaintiffs who do not like the terms of the settlement will be able to opt out and write a letter to the district judge, Kurt Englehardt. Also, the court will have to give regulatory agencies in the federal government as well as Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama 90 days to review and comment.
Then probably in late July or early August the judge will issue a ruling, either approving or rejecting the settlement. Details of the agreement, including the total amount the companies will pay the victims, will be released then.
According to court documents, at least 28 manufacturing defendants are participating in the settlement, including the Elkhart County-based Dutchmen Manufacturing Co., Heartland Recreational Vehicles, Keystone RV Co., Skyline Corp. and Sunnybrook RV Inc.
Four manufacturers have not reached a settlement, according to court records. These defendants are Gulf Stream Coach Inc., Jayco Enterprises Inc./Starcraft, Forest River Inc./Vanguard Industries of Michigan, and the insurance companies — American International Specialty Lines, Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania and Lexington Insurance Co. — for the former Monaco Coach Corp.
Woods said the door is still open to come to an agreement with the plaintiffs but the court has already started scheduling trial dates for the cases against these four manufacturers.
In January 2011, a class action settlement against the makers of the manufactured homes sent to the Gulf after the 2005 hurricane season was settled for $2.6 million. Ken Weaver, retired attorney for the former Baker & Daniels, predicted a settlement of the RV claims would be reached within a year for a low dollar amount.
An estimated 150,000 units were shipped to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region in August 2005. A few months later, people living in the RVs and manufactured homes began complaining of a variety of medical issues ranging from nosebleeds to cancer, which was believed to have been caused by the formaldehyde fumes inside the dwellings.
Subsequent testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed high levels of formaldehyde in the units.
The court later held that FEMA was not liable, preventing residents from suing the federal government.
However, the plaintiff’s liaison counsel plans on appealing that decision to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Wood said. The attorneys will ask the court to review the order and maybe argue a different interpretation of the law.