BP Solar Panel Defect Litigation and Settlement
Result: $67 million settlement
Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel represented California consumers in a class action lawsuit against BP Solar International (“BP”) and Home Depot U.S.A. (“Home Depot”) that charged that the companies sold solar panels with defective junction boxes that cause premature failure and a fire risk.
Final Approval Granted to Consumer Settlement
In January 2017, Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted final approval to the proposed settlement for consumers.
Plaintiffs alleged that the BP solar panels at issue were substantially certain to fail within their warranted lives due to an inherent defect in the junction box, the small casing on the back of the panel where soldered output cable connections are housed. Settlement Class Members with certain higher failure rate models, or with high failure rates in their arrays, will be eligible for complete replacement of their solar panels. Others will receive replacement of failed panels and a new inverter with advanced safety technology. Owners of large, non-residential systems will be entitled to a mediated commercial negotiation with BP, with extended opt-out rights. The Settlement thus helps eliminate any danger associated with these panels – either the allegedly faulty panels are removed or a state-of-the art inverter is installed.
“We are very pleased that after extensive litigation and strenuous negotiations, the parties were able to reach a settlement that provides significant and substantial relief valued at more than $67 million,” said Lieff Cabraser partner Robert J. Nelson, who helped negotiate the deal. “The Settlement eliminates all the uncertainty and risk in this complex class action matter, extends relief to a nationwide class, and provides that meaningful relief now, rather than the mere hope of relief many years in the future.”
Potential class members can visit the official settlement website at www.bpsolarsettlement.com for more information.
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