Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this lawsuit about?
  2. Why is the lawsuit a class action?
  3. Why is there a settlement?
  4. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?
  5. What are the possible benefits of this settlement?
  6. What are the limitations on reimbursement claims based on the vehicle's age and mileage at the time the damage or repairs occurred?
  7. Am I giving anything up in return for my benefit?
  8. What do I need to do to get the benefits of this settlement?
  9. Can I get out of the settlement?
  10. How can I exclude myself from the settlement?
  11. Can I tell the Court I do not like the settlement?
  12. How can I object to the settlement?
  13. What is the difference between excluding and objecting? Can I do both?
  14. Can I appear at the settlement hearing?
  15. Do I need to hire my own attorney?
  16. How much is Class Counsel being paid?
  17. When will the settlement become final?
  18. What happens if the settlement is not approved?
  19. What if I do not do anything?
  20. Where can I get more information?

1. What is this lawsuit about?

A lawsuit called Fox, et al. v. Nissan North America, Inc., Case No. CGC-09-490470, was filed against Nissan North America, Inc. ("Nissan") by three individuals on behalf of themselves and all current and former owners or lessees who purchased or leased 2001-2004 model year Nissan Pathfinder vehicles equipped with a VQ35 engine and 2002-2005 model year Nissan Altima and Sentra vehicles equipped with a QR25 engine (called the "Class Vehicles") in California. The people who sued are called the Plaintiffs. The company they sued, Nissan, is called the Defendant.

Plaintiffs allege that the engines in the Class Vehicles were assembled with power valve screws that are not secure, are prone to loosen and detach, may cause the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (or Check Engine Light) to illuminate and may cause unstable engine idling or power loss. They also allege detachment of the screw can result in engine failure and is a risk to personal safety. The Plaintiffs brought claims against Nissan for fraudulent concealment and violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law. They sought various injunctive remedies and damages.

Nissan has and continues to strongly deny all of Plaintiffs' claims including the assertion that detached power valve screws provide any risk to personal safety, denies all allegations of wrongdoing, fault, liability or damage of any kind to Plaintiffs of the Settlement Class (as defined below), and believes that this litigation is without merit.

2. Why is the lawsuit a class action?

In a "class action lawsuit," one or more people called "Class Representatives" sue on behalf of people who might have similar claims. The people together are a "Class" or "Class Members." The Court preliminarily has decided that this lawsuit can be a class action for settlement purposes. This means that, if the settlement does not receive final approval by the Court, then Settlement Class Members will not get benefits under this settlement, and Plaintiffs will need to go back to Court to prove their case through trial.

3. Why is there a settlement?

While the Plaintiffs believe that their case is meritorious, they have agreed to this settlement because, if it is approved, it provides benefits to the class, while avoiding the significant risks associated with a trial.

Nissan believes the lawsuit has no merit, but nevertheless is willing to enter into this settlement as a further commitment to its customers, to provide extra peace of mind to its customers, and to end further litigation, which could be protracted, burdensome and expensive.

The Court has not decided who is right or wrong in this lawsuit. This proposed settlement is not, and should not be considered as evidence of Nissan's admission or concession of any fault, wrongdoing or liability whatsoever.

4. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?

You are a Settlement Class Member and part of the settlement if you are a current or former owner or lessee of a 2001-2004 model year Nissan Pathfinder with VQ35 engine or a 2002-2005 model year Nissan Altima or Sentra with QR25 engine who purchased or leased the vehicle in California, unless excluded as set forth below.

Excluded from the Settlement Class are: (1) Nissan, any entity or division in which Nissan has a controlling interest, its/their legal representatives, officers, directors, assigns and successors; (2) any judge to whom this case is assigned and the judge's clerks and any member of the judge's immediate family; (3) anyone with a claim for personal injury based on a loose or detached power valve screw in a Class Vehicle; (4) owners of vehicles covered by Nissan's Voluntary Service Campaign for certain 2004 and 2005 model year Altimas and certain 2004 model year Sentras; and (5) current or former owners or lessees of Class Vehicles who paid out-of-pocket for Repaired Engine Damage after the vehicle had reached 12 years in service or 120,000 miles, whichever occurred first.

5. What are the possible benefits of this settlement?

The settlement provides reimbursement for expenses for repairs necessitated by a loose or detached power valve screw that occurred outside of the factory warranty period of 5-years or 60,000 miles, whichever occurred first. There are three criteria that must be met to be eligible for reimbursement under the settlement:

  1. the engine damage or failure must have occurred when your vehicle was (i) more than 5 years in-service or the odometer registered more than 60,000 miles, whichever occurred first, and (ii) less than 12 years in-service and less than 120,000 miles on the odometer;
  2. reimbursement is not available to the degree such repairs were previously paid for by Nissan (for example, under the five (5) year/60,000 mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty, if part of Nissan's Voluntary Service Campaign or if paid by Nissan as goodwill);
  3. You must provide documentation created at or near the time of the repair and as part of the same transaction, which sets forth the issue and repair, date of diagnosis and repair, and mileage at the time of diagnosis and repair from either an authorized Nissan dealer or non-Nissan automotive repair facility. If you no longer have documentation of your repair, you may be able to obtain copies from the facility where your vehicle was repaired. Please contact 1-855-306-9707 for further information or assistance in obtaining the required documentation.

To obtain reimbursement, you must have completed and returned the Claim Form with the required documentation to the Claim Administrator postmarked prior to June 7, 2017 or submitted a claim on or before June 7, 2017 electronically.

If you received a Notice after February 12, 2018 and purchased or leased a 2005 Model Year Canton Built Altima, you may complete and return the Claim Form with the required documentation to the Claim Administrator postmarked prior to August 11, 2018 or submitted a claim on or before August 11, 2018 electronically here.

Nissan will then reimburse you for the cost paid to repair the engine subject to the caps described below:

  1. For Repairs less than Full Engine Replacement1 on Class Vehicles that at the time of failure or repair had been in-service more than five (5) years or had more than 60,000 miles, whichever occurred first, but had been in service fewer than eight (8) years or had less than 80,000 miles, whichever occurred first, the caps on Reimbursement are:
    Sentra/Altima Pathfinder
    $1,000 $1,500
  2. For engine Repairs less than Full Engine Replacement on Class Vehicles that at the time of failure or repair had been in-service more than eight (8) years or had more than 80,000 miles, whichever occurred first, but had been in service fewer than ten (10) years or had less than100,000 miles, whichever occurred first, the caps on Reimbursement are:
    Sentra/Altima Pathfinder
    $750 $1,250
  3. For engine Repairs less than Full Engine Replacement on Class Vehicles that at the time of failure or repair had been in-service more than ten (10) years or had more than 100,000 miles, whichever occurred first, but had been in service fewer than twelve (12) years or had less than 120,000 miles, whichever occurred first, the caps on Reimbursement are:
    Sentra/Altima Pathfinder
    $500 $1,000
  4. For Full Engine Replacements on Class Vehicles that at the time of failure or repair had been in-service more than five (5) years or had more than 60,000 miles, whichever occurred first, but had been in service fewer than eight (8) years or had less than 80,000 miles, whichever occurred first, the caps on Reimbursement are:
    Sentra/Altima Pathfinder
    $2,000 $3,000
  5. For Full Engine Replacements on Class Vehicles that at the time of failure or repair had been in-service more than eight (8) years or had more than 80,000 miles, whichever occurred first, but had been in service fewer than ten (10) years or had less than 100,000 miles, whichever occurred first, the caps on Reimbursement are:
    Sentra/Altima Pathfinder
    $1,750 $2,750
  6. For Full Engine Replacements on Class Vehicles that at the time of failure or repair had been in-service more than ten (10) years or had more than 100,000 miles, whichever occurred first, but had been in service fewer than twelve (12) years or had less than 120,000 miles, whichever occurred first, the caps on reimburse are:
    Sentra/Altima Pathfinder
    $1,500 $2,500

You must sign and return the Claim Form, along with the required documentation, to the Claims Administrator by August 11, 2018 (180 days after the date of the Notice) to be eligible for reimbursement. The mileage or years on the Class Vehicle as they relate to eligibility for reimbursement will be determined as of the date of the failure or repair as reflected in the appropriate contemporaneous documentation.

1 Full Engine Replacement means that the engine in the Class Vehicle was removed and replaced with a different engine, (engine block serial number is different), whether the replacement engine is new or remanufactured. If the engine in the Class Vehicle is repaired but is not replaced with a different engine (engine block serial number is the same as original), then it is considered a repair. Unless engine remanufacturing of the original engine is clear from the appropriate contemporaneous documentation, it will be deemed a repair.

6. What are the limitations on reimbursement claims based on the vehicle's age and mileage at the time the damage or repairs occurred?

With the sale of new Pathfinder, Altima and Sentra vehicles, Nissan provided a powertrain warranty period of five years or 60,000 miles, whichever occurred first. During this time, damages from loose or detached power valve screws would have been paid for by Nissan under the warranty.

The limitation on recovery of repair cost for vehicles driven less than five years, or driven less than 60,000 miles, is because such repair cost would have been paid by Nissan under warranty. The limitation on recovery for damages due to loose or detached power valve screws after a vehicle is 12 years old or has been driven more than 120,000 miles is because this is a settlement negotiated by the Parties. Nissan and Class Representatives agreed to exclude individuals whose power valve screws detached after 12 years/120,000 miles from the Class. As a result, these owners will receive no compensation under the settlement, but they will receive notice of the alleged defect and will not release any claims against Nissan. The Court has noted that California Civil Code Section§ 1793.2(d)(2) (B) defines 120,000 as the presumptive full life expectancy of a new car under and, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/onh00/bar8.htm), the average miles driven per year is 13,476 across all ages.

An illustration showing the period during which each vehicle is eligible to receive compensation for engine repairs covered by the settlement is shown below:

illustration showing the period during which each vehicle is eligible to receive compensation for engine repairs covered by the settlement

7. Am I giving anything up in return for my benefit?

Unless you get out of the Settlement (which is called "excluding yourself" or "opting out"), you are part of the Settlement Class. By staying part of the Settlement Class, Court orders will apply to you and you will give the Defendant and the selling or leasing dealer a "release." A release means you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant or the selling or leasing dealer about the claims or issues in this lawsuit ever again. The specific claims and parties you will be releasing are described in paragraphs 7, 26-27 and 32 of the Settlement Agreement.

8. What do I need to do to get the benefits of this settlement?

To remain a Settlement Class Member you do not have to do anything now but to GET A REIMBURSEMENT under the settlement, you must have COMPLETED and SUBMITTED A CLAIM FORM before June 7, 2017.

If you received a Notice after February 12, 2018 and purchased or leased a 2005 Canton Built Altima, to GET A REIMBURSEMENT under the settlement, you must COMPLETE and SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM before August 11, 2018 as explained below.

The Court requests that claim forms be submitted as soon as possible in order to monitor the claims process.

A Claim Form was included with the Notice mailed to Settlement Class Members. To obtain a reimbursement benefit, you must submit the completed Claim Form with necessary documentation to the Claims Administrator by August 11, 2018. Claim Forms submitted after August 11, 2018 will not be considered. You may submit a Claim Form and documentation by mail or electronically here.

Claim Forms that do not meet the requirements of the Settlement Agreement and the Claim Form instructions will be rejected. However, before the Claim Form is rejected, the Claims Administrator will notify you to provide you an opportunity to remedy the deficiencies in the Claim Form or supporting documentation. If the deficiencies are not corrected, the Claims Administrator will notify you in writing.

Reimbursement checks may not be mailed until 120 days after (a) the Settlement is finally approved by the Court after the Fairness Hearing and a Final Order and Judgment has been entered by the Court or, (b) if an appeal is filed, until (i) all such appeals have been dismissed; or (ii) the appropriate Court of Appeals has entered a final judgment affirming the Final Order and Judgment of the Court which is no longer subject to any further appellate challenge or has been affirmed by the California Supreme Court.

9. Can I get out of the settlement?

You can get out of the settlement and the class. This is called "excluding yourself" or "opting out." If you exclude yourself from the settlement, you will not be entitled to receive the settlement benefits. However, you will not be bound by any judgment or settlement of this class action lawsuit and will keep your right to sue Defendant independently, if you want.

10. How can I exclude myself from the settlement?

To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must mail the Settlement Administrator a Request for Exclusion that contains the following information:

  1. The name of the lawsuit: "Fox, et al. v. Nissan North America, Inc., Case No. CGC-09-490470."
  2. Your full name, current address and telephone number;
  3. Your vehicle year and model;
  4. Your vehicle's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and, if you still own your vehicle, your mileage as of the date of the Notice;
  5. A specific statement of your intent to exclude yourself from the lawsuit (for example, "Please exclude me from the Settlement Class in the "Nissan Power Valve Screw Litigation.");
  6. A specific statement that you do not wish to be a Settlement Class Member and choose to be excluded from any judgment entered pursuant to the Settlement (for example, "I do not wish to be a Settlement Class Member and want to be excluded from the Settlement."); and
  7. Your signature and the date you signed it.

If you received a Notice after February 12, 2018 and purchased or leased a 2005 Canton Built Altima, you must send your Request for Exclusion by first-class United States Mail, postmarked no later than April 13, 2018 to the Settlement Administrator at the address below:

Nissan Power Valve Screw Settlement Administrator
PO Box 43440
Providence RI, 02940-3440

If you do not follow these procedures and deadlines to exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will remain a Settlement Class Member and lose any opportunity to exclude yourself from the Settlement. This means that your rights will be determined in this lawsuit by the Settlement Agreement if it receives final approval from the court.

11. Can I tell the Court I do not like the settlement?

If you do not exclude yourself, you can tell the Court you do not like the settlement or some part of it by filing an objection to the settlement. Your objection could be any aspect of the settlement, payment of attorneys' fees and costs, or any other reason. If you object to the settlement but do not exclude yourself, you remain a Settlement Class Member.

12. How can I object to the settlement?

If you did not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you may object to any aspect of the settlement. In order to object, you or your attorney must (1) file with the Court, (2) send to Class Counsel, and (3) send to Nissan's counsel, a written objection and supporting papers that contain:

  1. The name of the lawsuit: "Fox, et al. v. Nissan North America, Inc., Case No. CGC-09-490470."
  2. Your full name, current address and telephone number;
  3. Whether, as of the date of the written objection, you currently own or lease or whether you previously owned or leased a 2001-2004 model year Nissan Pathfinder with a VQ35 engine or a 2002-2005 Nissan Altima or Sentra with a QR25 engine, the specific model year(s) and the approximate date(s) of purchase or lease (for example, "I currently own a 2001 model year Nissan Pathfinder that I purchased in January 2001);
  4. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of your vehicle(s);
  5. Current odometer mileage of the vehicle(s) currently owned or leased;
  6. Each specific reason for your objection, including the factual and legal grounds for your position;
  7. A detailed list of any other objections to any class action settlements you have submitted to any court, whether State, Federal, or otherwise, in the United States in the previous five (5) years;
  8. All evidence and supporting papers (for example, briefs, written evidence, and declarations) that you want the Court to consider in support of your objections;
  9. Whether you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing, also known as a Final Approval Hearing, and whether you will be represented by separate counsel;
  10. A list of all persons, if any, who will be called to testify in support of the objection; and
  11. Your signature and the date of your signature.

If you, or your separate counsel, wish to appear and be heard orally at the Final Approval Hearing, you must state your desire to appear personally or by your separate counsel in your written objection. However, Settlement Class Members who object to the Settlement are not required to attend the Final Approval Hearing. If you received a Notice after February 12, 2018 and purchased or leased a 2005 Canton Built Altima, you must file your objection with the Court and serve separate copies on Class Counsel and Nissan's counsel by first-class United States Mail, no later than April 13, 2018.

Your objection must be filed with the Court at the following address:

Superior Court of the State of California, in and for the County of San Francisco
Fox, et al. v. Nissan North America, Inc.
CGC-09-490470
400 McAllister St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

The copies to be served on Class Counsel and Nissan's counsel must be mailed by first-class United States Mail to the following addresses:

Class Counsel:

Jennie Lee Anderson, Esq.
Andrus Anderson, LLP
155 Montgomery Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94104

Counsel for Nissan:

Paul Riehle, Esq.
Shartsis Friese LLP
One Maritime Plaza, 18th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

If you do not comply with these procedures or deadline for objection, you will lose your opportunity to have your objections considered at the Final Approval Hearing or otherwise contest the approval of the Settlement or to appeal from any order or judgment entered by the Court in connection with the Settlement.

13. What is the difference between excluding and objecting? Can I do both?

Excluding yourself means getting out of the settlement altogether – you would not be entitled to receive any benefits pursuant to the settlement or be bound by the terms of the settlement. Objecting means remaining in the settlement, but complaining about some part of it you do not like. You cannot do both.

14. Can I appear at the settlement hearing?

As long as you do not exclude yourself, you can (but do not have to) participate and speak for yourself in this lawsuit and Settlement. This is called making an appearance. You can also have your own lawyer speak for you, but you will have to pay for the lawyer yourself.

If you want to appear, or if you want your own lawyer instead of Class Counsel to participate or speak for you in this lawsuit, you must give written notice in your objection to the settlement filed with the Court and mailed to the attorneys listed above in Section 12. You must state in that paper, "I intend to appear at the hearing."

15. Do I need to hire my own attorney?

You do not need to hire an attorney, but can if you want to. You, and the entire class, are already represented by a group of attorneys listed below, who are known as Class Counsel. You do not have to pay for Class Counsel's services. You may contact Class Counsel if you have any questions about the Notice or settlement, but please do not contact the Court.

Class Counsel:

Jennie Lee Anderson, Esq.
Lori E. Andrus, Esq.
Leland Belew, Esq.
Andrus Anderson, LLP
155 Montgomery Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94104

Michael F. Ram, Esq.
Robins Kaplan LLP
2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 100
Mountain View, CA 94040

Jeffrey B. Cereghino, Esq.
Matt J. Malone, Esq.
Rock Law LLP
101 Montgomery Street, Suite 1800
San Francisco, California 94104

If you decide to hire your own attorney, you will have to pay for his or her services. Your attorney must file an appearance no later than April 13, 2018 with the Clerk of the Court, and must send a copy by first-class United States Mail, to Class Counsel and Nissan's counsel at the addresses provided above in Section 12, postmarked no later than April 13, 2018.

16. How much is Class Counsel being paid?

Class Counsel will apply to the Court for reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses in an amount up to $1,421,000. Any award of attorneys' fees and costs will be paid by Nissan separately from and in addition to any relief provided to the Settlement Class. Additionally, Class Counsel will apply to the Court for payments of $5,000 each to the Class Representatives for their service to the Class. Any award of payments to the Class Representatives will be paid by Nissan separately from and in addition to any relief provided to the Settlement Class.

17. When will the settlement become final?

The Court has preliminarily approved the Settlement provided for in the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement will not take effect unless and until: (1) the Court approves the Settlement after the Final Approval Hearing and (a) a Final Order and Judgment has been entered by the Court and the applicable period for the appeal of the Final Order and Judgment has expired without any appeals having been filed, or (b) all such appeals have been dismissed; or (2) the appropriate Court of Appeal has entered a final judgment affirming the Final Order and Judgment of the Court, which (a) is no longer subject to any further appellate challenge, or (b) has been affirmed by the California Supreme Court.

The Court has scheduled a final approval hearing, or Final Approval Hearing, to be held on May 16, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, to decide whether certification of the Settlement Class is proper; whether the Settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable; and whether the Settlement should be finally approved. In addition, the Court will consider Class Counsel's application for an award of attorneys' fees and reimbursement of expenses. The Court is located at the Superior Court of the State of California, in and for the county of San Francisco, 400 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA 94102, Department 502. The Final Approval Hearing may be rescheduled to a later time without further notice. You may, but do not have to, attend the Final Approval Hearing(s). After the Court rules on the final approval and the time to appeal has expired, the settlement will become final.

18. What happens if the settlement is not approved?

If the Court does not approve the settlement, Settlement Class Members will not be entitled to receive the settlement benefits described in the Notice. It will be as if no settlement had been reached and no class had been established.

19. What if I do not do anything?

If you do nothing, including choosing not to submit a Claim Form, you will still be a Settlement Class Member. If, however, you seek reimbursement from Nissan for a repair you previously paid, and you do not timely submit a Claim Form with the required documentation, you will not receive any reimbursement benefits from this Settlement, but you will still be a Settlement Class Member. You will be bound by the terms of the Settlement, which means you cannot bring a lawsuit against Defendants for the same claims at issue in this lawsuit.

20. Where can I get more information?

If you have additional questions regarding the Notice or the Settlement, or if you did not receive the Notice in the mail and believe that you may be a member of the Settlement Class, you should contact the Settlement Administrator by calling 1-855-306-9707 for more information, or you may communicate directly with Class Counsel by contacting:

Jennie Lee Anderson, Esq.
Lori E. Andrus, Esq.
Leland Belew, Esq.
ANDRUS ANDERSON, LLP
155 Montgomery Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94104
Email: jennie.anderson@andrusanderson.com
Email: lori.andrus@andrusanderson.com
Email: leland.belew@andrusanderson.com

Michael F. Ram, Esq.
ROBINS KAPLAN LLP
2440 West El Camino Real
Suite 100
Mountain View, CA 94040
Email: mram@robinskaplan.com

Jeffrey B. Cereghino, Esq.
Matt J. Malone, Esq.
ROCK LAW LLP
101 Montgomery Street, Suite 1800
San Francisco, California 94104
Email: jbc@rocklawcal.com
Email: mjm@rocklawcal.com

The Notice, which has been approved by the Court, is only a summary. If you wish to obtain more detailed information, you may review the Settlement Agreement, which contains the complete terms of the Settlement. The Settlement Agreement, along with the pleadings, records and other papers regarding the Lawsuits, are available on this website and are on file with the Court and available to be inspected at any time during regular business hours at the Clerk's Office.

The Clerk of the Court is located at:

Superior Court of the State of California, in and for the County of San Francisco
400 McAllister St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Please do not contact the Court.