Frequently Asked Questions
Why was the notice issued?
A federal court authorized the Notice because you have a right to know about the proposed Settlement and about all of your options before it decides whether to approve the Settlement. The notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, and who may qualify for them.
Judge Manish S. Shah of the United States District Court, North District of Illinois is overseeing the Settlement. The case is known as Rebecca Rysewyk, et al., individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Sears Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15 CV 4519. The people who sued are called the “Plaintiffs” and the companies they sued, Sears Holdings Corp. and Sears, Roebuck and Co., are called the “Defendants.”
Why did I receive the notice?
If you received a notice by mail or email, the Defendants’ records indicate you may be a potential member of this Settlement Class who, between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2015, purchased from Sears in the United States a new Craftsman Riding Lawn Tractor for primarily personal use. The model numbers of the tractors covered by this settlement are listed at www.CRLTsettlement.com. These specific riding lawn tractors purchased between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2015 are referred to as “CRLTs” throughout the notice.
What is the lawsuit about?
The Plaintiffs contend that the CRLTs have certain defective parts in the fuel delivery system that are prone to become loose and/or leak fuel, i.e., the fuel tank grommet, clamps securing fuel lines, and fuel lines. The Plaintiffs have sought damages for themselves and other consumers (the “Class Members”) which included, among other things, the costs of repair or replacement of the alleged defective parts.
The Defendants disagree with the Plaintiffs’ position and contend that the CRLTs do not have the defects alleged. Defendants deny that they violated any law, engaged in any wrongdoing, or owe any liability in this case to Plaintiffs or to anyone else. The Settlement is not an admission of any liability.
The Settlement does not include claims for personal injury or property damage, and does not release such claims of Settlement Class Members, if any.
Why is this a class action?
In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue for all people who have similar claims, in this case other consumers. Together, these people are called a “Settlement Class” or “Settlement Class Members.” One court resolves the legal issues for all Settlement Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Settlement Class.
Why is there a Settlement?
The Court did not decide which side was right or whether the CRLTs are defective. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement to avoid the costs and risks of further litigation and to provide immediate benefits to Settlement Class Members. The Settlement does not mean that a Court found that Defendants broke any laws or did anything wrong. The Class Representatives and the lawyers representing them (called “Class Counsel”) believe that the Settlement is in the best interests of all Settlement Class Members.
The Settlement Class — Who is Included
Who is included in the Settlement?
The Settlement Class includes all persons who, between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2015, purchased from Sears, Roebuck and Co. (“Sears”) in the United States, certain new Craftsman® Riding Lawn Tractors for primarily personal use, the model numbers of which are listed at www.CRLTsettlement.com.
How do I know if I am a Class Member?
To determine if you are a Settlement Class Member, you need to verify the month, year and place of your CRLT purchase and that your CRLT’s model number is included in the Settlement. The model number can be found on the serial number plate located on the frame under the seat or on the underside of the seat of the CRLT and compared to the list of model numbers on the Settlement Website. If your CRLT model number is listed and the date, place and purpose of your purchase of the CRLT meets the requirements set forth in Question 6, you are a Settlement Class Member unless you are an individual described in Question 8.
Who isn't included in the Settlement Class?
The following are not included in the Settlement Class: (1) officers, directors, and employees of Sears; (2) insurers of members of the Settlement Class; (3) any entity purporting to be a subrogee of a member of the Settlement Class; (4) all suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, shippers, and third-party issuers or providers of extended warranties or service contracts for CRLTs; (5) individuals who previously settled and released claims against Sears with respect to their CRLTs which fall within the definition of “Released Claims” in this Settlement; (6) individuals other than the Settlement Class Representatives who, as of the date of the Settlement Agreement, have legal damage claims pending against Sears with respect to their CRLTs, (7) the judge overseeing the proposed settlement and the judge’s immediate family, and (8) individuals who properly execute and timely file a request for exclusion from this Settlement Class.
The Settlement Benefits — What You Get if You Qualify
What benefits does the Settlement provide?
The Settlement provides the following benefits for which Settlement Class Members may be eligible: (1) free inspections and repairs of certain fuel leaks and/or loose fuel line connections (if they are observed when conducting a self-inspection) on the Class Member’s CRLT by an authorized Service Technician, up to three (3) times (within 12 months of the Effective Date (March 1, 2019) if the Settlement Class Member purchased the CRLT between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2013; or within 18 months of the Effective Date (March 1, 2019) if the Settlement Class Member purchased the CRLT between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015); and/or (2) cash reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses for previously incurred expenses for repairs of fuel leaks and/or loose fuel line connections on the Class Member’s CRLT, up to $125. Qualified Settlement Class Members may receive benefits for each CRLT they purchased during the applicable period that is covered by the settlement.
Tell me more about the free inspection and repair.
Upon the Effective Date (March 1, 2019), Settlement Class Members who conduct a self-inspection of their CRLT according to the instructions available on the Settlement Website and find a Covered Condition (as defined below) may have an authorized Service Technician perform a free inspection and repair of the Covered Conditions. This benefit applies to (1) a “Fuel Leak” which refers to a leak at the fuel tank grommet or at any point where the fuel line connects to another part such as the fuel tank, fuel filter, fuel pump, or engine, or (2) a “Loose Fuel Line Connection” which refers to the clamp securing the fuel line (at the fuel tank grommet or at any point where the fuel line connects to another part such as the fuel tank, fuel filter, fuel pump, or engine) moving without the use of tools and with minimal force, or that the fuel line disconnects (at the fuel tank grommet or at any point where the fuel line connects to another part such as the fuel tank, fuel filter, fuel pump, or engine) without the use of tools and with minimal force. These two conditions (1) and (2) are referred to as the “Covered Conditions.”
After the Effective Date (March 1, 2019), Settlement Class Members must first perform their own inspection of their CRLTs following the instructions provided in FAQ 15. If Settlement Class Members observe a Covered Condition on their CRLT, they are then eligible to receive a free inspection and repair of the Covered Condition up to three (3) times, within a certain time period. Settlement Class Members who purchased their CRLT between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2013, may seek free inspections and repairs of Covered Conditions for a period of 12 months after the Effective Date (March 1, 2019). Settlement Class Members who purchased their CRLT between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015, may seek free inspections and repairs of Covered Conditions for a period of 18 months after the Effective Date (March 1, 2019). Service Technicians will use reasonable efforts to perform the inspection and repair within twenty-one (21) days after the request for inspection and repair is made following the Effective Date (March 1, 2019). If you do not have a Covered Condition, then you are not eligible to receive the free inspection and repair under this Settlement.
Settlement Class Members who request an inspection and repair after observing one or both of the Covered Conditions on their CRLT may choose either to bring their CRLT to an authorized Service Technician for the free inspection and repair or to have the inspection and repair performed at their home or other location. Should Settlement Class Members choose to have an authorized Service Technician travel to their home or other location to perform the inspection and repair, a non-refundable charge of $35 for each such service visit will apply and be charged to the Settlement Class Member.
No free inspection and repair under the Settlement can occur until after the Effective Date (March 1, 2019).
NOTE: Always consult the owner’s manual for your CRLT with respect to precautions and safety procedures and with respect to any questions or problems observed on your CRLT.
How do I determine if my CRLT has a Covered Condition?
After the Effective Date (March 1, 2019) the Settlement website and settlement toll-free number will contain information on how to inspect your CRLT to see if it has a Covered Condition. If prior to the Effective Date, you observe a Covered Condition on your CRLT, please consult the owner’s manual for your CRLT with respect to precautions and safety procedures and with respect to any questions or problems observed on your CRLT.
NOTE: Always consult the owner’s manual for your CRLT with respect to precautions and safety procedures and with respect to any questions or problems observed on your CRLT.
Tell me more about the reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses.
Settlement Class Members who previously incurred out-of-pocket expenses for repair of Covered Conditions as defined in FAQ 10 above (i.e., certain Fuel Leaks and/or Loose Fuel Line Connections) on their CRLT prior to June 15, 2018 are eligible for cash reimbursement of their out-of-pocket expenses, up to $125. If repairs for items other than Covered Conditions were made at the same time as repairs for Covered Conditions, then any charges related to travel or other charges that could apply to all repairs will be pro-rated according to the labor time spent on each repair. For example, if the Service Technician providing the repair charged a $100 fee for traveling to the location of the CRLT, and performed two repairs – one a Covered Condition and one a non-Covered Condition – each taking thirty minutes, then only one-half of the $100 fee, or $50, may be reimbursed.
Eligibility requirements for this benefit are as follows: (1) submission of a Claim Form under penalty of perjury that includes the serial and model numbers of the CRLT and reasonable documentation of the repair costs, repair work, and identification of the entity that performed the repair; or (2) if Settlement Class Members do not possess documentary proof of the repair costs, the repair work, and the Person that performed the repair, and cannot obtain such documentary proof, submission of a completed Claim Form under penalty of perjury that sets forth the serial and model numbers of the CRLT, the repair costs, the repair work, the identity of the Person that performed the repair, and the date of the repair, along with a statement that the Settlement Class Member made reasonable efforts to obtain a receipt or other documentation for the repair costs from the entity that performed the repair. Sears and/or the Settlement Administrator will have the right to investigate, verify and challenge any requests for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses, including contacting the entity that performed the work in order to verify the Settlement Class Member’s request for reimbursement.
What is the deadline to qualify for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses?
You will have until December 19, 2018 to submit a Claim Form online via the Settlement Website (or have it postmarked by if mailed) in order to be timely and be eligible to receive cash reimbursement for prior out-of-pocket repair expenses, provided the other requirements are met.
How to Get Benefits — Submitting a Claim Form
How many benefits can I receive?
If you qualify, you may receive one or both benefits. You may receive reimbursement up to $125.00 if you have previously incurred out-of-pocket expenses for repairs for Covered Conditions as listed above. Settlement Class Members are also eligible to receive free inspections and repairs of Covered Conditions observed by the Settlement Class Member on their CRLT following their own inspection. These benefits are available for each CRLT covered under the Settlement that was purchased new from Sears in the U.S. from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2015.
How do I get a Settlement benefit to which I may be entitled?
To receive reimbursement for prior repair costs, you must complete and submit a Claim Form. Your Claim Form and documentation must be submitted online no later than December 19, 2018, or mailed via U.S. Mail with a postmark no later than December 19, 2018. Claim Forms are available for download and submission at www.CRLTsettlement.com. They also are available by contacting the Settlement Administrator at 1-877-411-5712 or info@CRLTsettlement.com or by writing a letter to Craftsman Riding Lawn Tractor Settlement, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
No inspections or repairs will be provided until after March 1, 2019. To receive a free inspection and repair, you must first conduct your own inspection of your CRLT. To inspect, follow the instructions provided at the Settlement Website. If you observe a Covered Condition during your own inspection, you can get information about obtaining an inspection and repair by calling the Settlement toll-free number or by going to the Settlement website for instructions on how to request a repair and inspection of the Covered Condition. You will not be eligible for a free inspection and repair unless you have conducted your own inspection and observed a Covered Condition. Do not call to make arrangements for an inspection and repair if you have not performed your own inspection or if you have not observed a Covered Condition. You will need to provide the month and year of the purchase of your CRLT when making the request and when the inspection and repair occur.
What rights am I giving up by getting benefits and staying in the Settlement Class?
Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Settlement Class. If the Settlement is approved and becomes final, all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. Generally, that means you won’t be able to sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendants or other released persons (“Released Parties”) for the legal issues and claims resolved by this Settlement. Personal injury and property damage claims are not affected or released by this Settlement. The specific rights you are giving up are called Released Claims (see Question 17).
What are the Release Claims?
The claims that you are releasing, the “Released Claims,” are the claims set forth in the Class Action Complaint, available at www.CRLTsettlement.com, including all claims for economic loss, and including all claims for breach of express or implied warranties, out-of-pocket expense, diminution-in-value, benefit-of-the-bargain, cost-of-repair, cost-of-replacement, cost-of-maintenance, or premium-price damages, arising out of your purchase or use of the CRLTs. The “Released Persons” include (a) Sears Holding Corporation, (b) Sears, Roebuck and Co., (c) Sears Home Products, Inc., (d) Husqvarna Consumer Outdoor Products N.A., Inc., (e) all manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, licensors or licensees, and/or any other Person who was in any way involved in or within the chain of distribution of CRLTs, including the chain of design, testing, manufacture, assembly, distribution, marketing, sale, transport, or servicing of CRLTs as well as any warranty service providers involved in servicing the CRLTs purchased or used by a Plaintiff or Settlement Class Member pursuant to a CRLT new product warranty issued by Sears, and (f) the respective past, present, and future parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, joint ventures, officers, directors, shareholders, agents, representatives, servants, employees, attorneys, predecessors and successors in interest, assigns, and insurers of the Persons described in the preceding clauses (a) though (e) above.
The Released Claims, however, do not include any claims for personal injury or for property damage. The complete Settlement Agreement describes the Released Claims in necessary legal terminology. Please read it carefully. A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available at www.CRLTsettlement.com. You can talk to one of the lawyers listed below for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer at your own expense if you have questions about the Released Claims or what they mean.
The Lawyers Representing you and the Settlement Class
Do I have a lawyer in this case?
Yes. The Court appointed Edward A. Wallace and Andrew D. Welker of the law firm of Wexler Wallace, LLP; Gregory F. Coleman and Mark E. Silvey of the law firm of Greg Coleman Law, PC; and Shanon J. Carson and Michael T. Fantini of the law firm Berger Montague as lead Class Counsel, to represent you and other Settlement Class Members. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
How will these lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel, who have worked on this lawsuit since May 2015, will ask the Court to award them up to $2,750,000 for attorneys’ fees, plus up to $483,121 for reimbursement of the litigation expenses and costs they incurred. They will also ask for a service award of up to $10,000 to be paid to the three Class Representatives and one former Plaintiff (together the “Named Plaintiffs”). The Released Claims of Named Plaintiffs also is broader than the claims being released by the rest of the Settlement Class. If approved, these fees, expenses, and awards will be paid separately by the Defendants and will not reduce the amount of money available to Settlement Class Members. The Defendants also have agreed to pay the Settlement Administrator’s fees and expenses, including the costs of Notice, settlement administration and reimbursements under the Settlement.
Excluding Yourself from the Settlement ClasIf you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue the Defendants about the legal claims in this lawsuit, and you don’t want to receive benefits from this Settlement, you must take steps to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class. This is sometimes called “opting out” of the Settlement Class.
How do I get out of the Settlement?
To exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must complete and send to the Settlement Administrator an Opt-Out Form available at www.CRLTsettlement.com or a letter stating: “I want to be excluded from the Settlement Class in Rebecca Rysewyk, et al., individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Sears Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15 CV 4519. (N.D. Ill.).” Your Opt-Out Form or letter must include your full name, current address, your signature, and the date you signed it. To be valid, your Opt-Out Form or letter must be sent to the Settlement Administrator at the address below with a postmark no later than November 19, 2018.
Class Action Opt-Outs
ATTN: CRLT Settlement
PO Box 30456
Philadelphia, PA 19103
If I exclude myself, can I still get benefits from this Settlement?
No. If you exclude yourself, you are telling the Court you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class in this Settlement. You can only get Settlement benefits if you stay in the Settlement Class and submit a valid Claim Form for benefits as described above.
If I don't exlude myself, can I sue Defendant for the same claims later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you are giving up the right to sue Defendant for the claims that this Settlement resolves and releases (see Question 17). You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class to start or continue with your own lawsuit or to be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendants and other Released Parties (see Question 17).
Objecting to the SettlementYou can tell the Court if you do not agree with the Settlement or any part of it.
How do I tell the Court if I don't like the Settlement?
If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you may object to it. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement. The Court will consider your views before making a decision. To do so, you or your attorney must mail to the Court a written objection and supporting papers. Your objection must contain: (1) the name of this lawsuit (Rebecca Rysewyk, et al., individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Sears Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15 CV 4519 (N.D. Ill.)); (2) your full name and current address; (3) the serial number and model number of your Craftsman Riding Lawn Tractor; (4) the specific reasons for your objection; (5) any evidence and supporting papers (including, but not limited to, all briefs, written evidence, and declarations) that you want the Court to consider in support of your objection; (6) your signature; and (7) the date of your signature. You must mail your written objection to the Court at the following address:
Court Clerk of Court
Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse
219 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60604
Your written objection must be mailed with a postmark no later than November 19, 2018.
What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded from the Settlement?
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement Class (i.e., do not exclude yourself). Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you cannot object, because the Settlement no longer affects you.
The Court's Fairness HearingThe Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement. You may attend and you may ask to speak at the hearing, but you do not have to.
When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on January 29, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. CST, at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, located at the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604, in Courtroom 1719 before Judge Manish S. Shah, to consider whether the Settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable, and whether it should be finally approved. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing (see Question 27). The Court may also decide the amount of attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses to award Class Counsel and the service award payment amount to the Named Plaintiffs. This hearing may be continued or rescheduled by the Court without further notice to the Settlement Class.
UPDATE: On January 29, 2019, the Court granted Final Approval in the Sears CRLT Settlement. The Effective Date of the Settlement, as defined in the Settlement Agreement, is March 1, 2019.
Do I have to come to the hearing?
No. Class Counsel is working on your behalf and will answer any questions the Court may have about the Settlement. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you mail an objection to the Settlement, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, signed it, and provided all of the required information (see Question 23) the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.
May I speak at the hearing?
Yes. You may ask the Court to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must mail a written request to the Court saying that it is your “Notice of Intent to Appear at the Fairness Hearing in Rebecca Rysewyk, et al., individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Sears Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15 CV 4519. You must include your name, address, telephone number, and signature. If you plan to have your own attorney speak for you at the hearing, you must also include the name, address and telephone number of the attorney who will appear. Your written request must be mailed with a postmark to the Court no later than November 19, 2018.
If You Do Nothing
What happens if I don't do anything?
If you do nothing and the Court approves the Settlement, you will be bound by its terms and you will give up your right to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendants and the other Released Parties (see Question 17) about the legal issues or claims resolved and released by this Settlement.
Getting More Information
What if I feel like I need more information about what I should or should not do?
The Notice summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement, available at www.CRLTsettlement.com. If you have questions you may contact the Settlement Administrator by writing to: CRLT Settlement, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103, emailing info@CRLTsettlement.com, or call toll-free 1-877-411-5712, or Class Counsel’s firm websites. If you wish to communicate directly with Class Counsel, you may contact them at the address or phone number listed on their law firm’s website (see Question 18).
Si usted desea obtener una copie de la noticia en Espanol, favor de visite la página web www.CRLTsettlement.com o escribe al Administrador de Reclamos CRLTSettlement, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
DO NOT WRITE OR CALL THE COURT, SEARS OR ANY CRLT MANUFACTURER, RETAILER, DEALER, OR AGENT FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT OR THIS LAWSUIT.