A proposed class of child car seat buyers is asking a California federal court to give the go-ahead to a settlement with Britax Child Safety Inc. worth up to $2.6 million to settle claims that it sold car seats prone to breaking in a crash.
Named plaintiff Margaret Stevens asked the court to give preliminary approval to the deal and to certify a class of all California residents who bought a new Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Seat or Pioneer Harness-2-Booster Seat between Aug. 14, 2016, and Aug.14, 2020. The seats were made between Aug. 14, 2016, and Sept. 30, 2019.
Britax has agreed to pay $40 for each car seat purchased by class members, and the motion estimates that there are 21,097 known class members who registered their purchases with Britax or otherwise gave the company their contact information, and 45,608 unknown class members who did not register the seats.
The settlement also stipulates that if fewer than 80% of the known class members cash their checks, Britax will pay the value of the uncashed checks up to 80% of the amount to Safe Kids Worldwide, so Britax will never pay less than $675,104 in settlement value. The value of uncashed checks over 80% of the total settlement amount will be retained by Britax.
Britax will also pay all administration costs as well as reasonable attorney fees and expenses as well as a service award to Stevens, all in addition to the payments to class members. Stevens that her attorneys intend to ask for fees up to 25% of the settlement value, but the motion did not specify how much Stevens would ask for the service award.
Stevens initially brought the action in August 2020 on behalf of herself and other California residents who bought a new Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Seat or Pioneer Harness-2-Booster Seat in the four years leading up to the complaint. Stevens alleges she suffered “economic harm” because the seats were “defective” according to a Consumer Reports article about crash test results, and she would have paid less than $272 plus tax for the seat in March 2017 if she’d known about it.
In February 2021, Britax sought to have the case thrown out, arguing a single 2019 Consumer Reports article that used a testing method not approved by federal regulators was not enough to sustain claims that the seats were defective.