Posted January 7, 2020

Viking announces class action settlement

Suit applied to certain mainly residential Viking VK457 fire sprinklers.

The following is being jointly released by the Viking VK457 Settlement Administrator on behalf of Viking Group, Inc., The Viking Corporation, and Supply Network, Inc., d/b/a Viking Supplynet (collectively, "Viking") and Plaintiffs' law firms, Sauder Schelkopf LLC and Kramon & Graham PA, to announce a proposed class action settlement in the lawsuit captioned Jackson, et al. v. Viking Group, Inc., et al., No. 8:18-cv-02356-PJM (D. Md.).

The United States District Court for the District of Maryland granted preliminary approval to the proposed class action settlement on December 30, 2019. The proposed settlement resolves claims regarding those Viking VK457 fire sprinklers sold between January 1, 2013, and March 31, 2015 (referred to as "Subject Sprinklers"). Plaintiffs allege that these products, which mainly were used in residential buildings, are defective and can activate in the absence of a fire.

Viking rejects the allegation that these sprinklers are defective and notes that the products were certified by all appropriate industry standards organizations. The settlement agreement is not, and does not include, an admission of a defect.

"At Viking, we are committed to taking care of our customers," said James Golinveaux, President and CEO of Viking. "While we continue to stand by our products and processes, we believe this agreement is in the best interests of all involved parties. This settlement agreement will ensure our focus remains where it belongs – providing outstanding customer service and manufacturing best-in-class fire protection products."

"This settlement is an outstanding result for class members. Significantly, it offers a nationwide replacement program at no cost to property owners," said Joe Sauder of Sauder Schelkopf LLC, counsel for the plaintiffs. "We are pleased that Viking is taking the appropriate action through this significant settlement and we look forward to having the program implemented."

The class action settlement will be presented for final approval in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland on June 18, 2020. If finally approved, the settlement will provide for (1) a Replacement Remedy where Settlement Class Members may choose to have Subject Sprinklers replaced with a Viking VK494 fire sprinkler or a reasonably equivalent Viking fire sprinkler of equal or greater quality, and (2) an Activation Remedy for non-fire sprinkler activations occurring within a defined time period that will pay 70% of reasonably proven and unreimbursed reasonable costs incurred to (a) remediate water damage and/or repair or replace damaged property, (b) cover reasonable material and labor costs, and (c) cover alternative lodging and meals for those displaced by a non-fire activation.

Replacement Claims must be submitted within eighteen (18) months after the Effective Date. Activation Claims must be submitted within 180 days after the non-fire activation.

The Settlement Class is defined as "All Persons that currently or at any time previously have owned a residential or commercial structure in the United States while it contains or contained Subject Sprinklers or while the structure sustained water damage from a non-fire activation of a Subject Sprinkler, including their spouses, joint owners, heirs, executors, administrators, mortgagees, residents, tenants, creditors, lenders, predecessors, successors, trusts and trustees, and assigns ("Occupant Persons"); as well as all Persons who have standing and are entitled to assert a claim on behalf of any such Occupant Persons, such as, but not limited to, a builder, contractor, installer, distributor, seller, subrogated insurance carrier, or other Person who has claims for contribution, indemnity or otherwise against Viking based on claims for a non-fire activation of a Subject Sprinkler with respect to such residential or commercial structures.

"The Settlement Class includes all Persons who subsequently purchase or otherwise obtain an interest in a property covered by this Settlement without the need of a formal assignment by contract or court order."

There are certain exclusions to the Settlement Class that are detailed on the settlement website at