to

I

"-'""~Ul' 86-VMC-,DINF
1

Do'culmenl 7'6

Fi~ad 0.5/12120r06

Pa'ge 1 of 2:

COpy
.0"

'FILED ',2 'P" Z~28

UN,'TED, ST,.~"T,',~§ _,r,S,TR, I , :ICT "co, U~,,"" t.v:y MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORID~t'HII!\FORT MYERS DIVISION

~ULLIA.P1 f. TURNER, on B~hdl f 0,'[
:I

,.'j,1,tu8,t,ed,

~~m.se~f and All Others .5imil,arly

i
, 'V'S.
,

Plaintlffs, GENERAL ELECTR.IC CO., Defendant. TRANSCRIPT

April

lo:rtMyers,

10:00 A.M.

florida 27, 2006

I

II

OF FAIRNESS HEARING

BEFORE THE HONORABLE VIRGINIA M. HERNANDE,Z COVINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JTJDG'E

fOR TH:E: PIAINTI,F,E'S:
.I ~ -;:

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.sCOTT W. WEINSTEIN, ESQ. JORDAN CHAIKIN. ESQ. 2,400 Fir~,t StJ:leet, Sui.te303 Fort Myers, Florida 33901
23.9/33,4-1289 ALEXANDER E. BARNETT e ESQ.
New Yor k, GARY E.

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The Mason Law: ,Firm

Post Office

,BoX230758:
York

202/408-4600

N'e'r,!/'

10023
.

MASON, ESQ,. The Mason Law Fil'Ill

,

Washingt.Ornr DC
202/4.29-2290

12.25 19'th St. N.W Suite 500 .,

20036

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**PLEASEREFER

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Fort Myers, Florida April 21,. 2006

UNITE:D STATES DlSi'o-rRICT COURT :MIDDLE DISTRICT O:F FltORIDA

FORT MYERS DIVISION

CASE 'NO.2:

05-CV-1B6-Fl'M-.33DNF

'WILLIM F., TURNER, on Behalf' of Himself and All others Similarly

Situated,

Plaintiffs"
VB.

11):00 A.M.

GENERAL ELECTRIC 00.,

I

Defendant.

~SCRIJ?T

OF FAIIUIlESS HEARING M. .HERNANlOEZ COVINGTON

BEFORE 'THE HOOORASLE, VIRGINIA

UNI'TED STATES DISTRICT' JUDGE

Scan'

JORDAN' CHAIKIN, ESQ.
Fore ~ye,rs,Florida 239/334-128'9
2400 Firs,t St:reet,

w.

WEINSTEIN, ESQ. Suite

33901

303
,.

ALEXANDER E ~ BARNETT, The Mason La,w' Fi.rm New Yo,rkl New York 20214GB~4 600

ESQ~ 100,23

Post Offioe Box 2,30758

,GARY E. MASON.!, ESQ. Th,e ,Mason Law· F'inn 1225 19th St. N.W., Suite I

Washington, DC
,202/429-2290

20036

500

.'-..,.1

_.

v

I

FUR THE DEfEN~':

Er:M'ARO M. WAtt:ER, ESQ. F-owler: Whlte Eoggs. s Banker 501 East Kennedy Boulevard 'T'annpa, Flo.rida a 13/222-01136

Suite 1700

33602

. ALSOI?RESJSNT:

AL EOGARD, ESQ. GESenior Litigation

COunsel
·f •

REPORTED BY:

R. ,JOy STAN"CEL, BMR-CRR . FedeI'o.l Offici.al Court Report,er .
tJ •.S. Courthouse

2110 Fi:rst Street F.'ort. Meyers, Florida 239/461-2064

33901

,I

,.,

3

1
2

(Gall to Order of the Court)
THE 'CC'JURT: We t re here on the: fairness hearing in

3 4 5. 6 ,
'I

William TUrner versus

General Electr.ic.· in this caae,

We have Mr.. Barnett classa.ction, Electric. and
,And
I I

represerrtdriq t.h.e plaintiff
we, haveMr ..Wachter

and others

.for General

1 'm sorry
1

you all

had to wa.i.t.

Sometimes we·get a. little

delayed.

8
9 10 11 12 V 13·
TH.E COURT: We have a rrums.!: of counsel. here . I'm

I not sure I have all of your names" so I 'mjust
Ibut if you can,
just. stand! and tell

go.ing t.o ask hearings

. you, I know I recognize sane of you from the prior

me your name, and we 111

start with the plaintiff ..
MR. WEINSTEIN: Soott

14
15 plaintiff.

Weinstein

representing

the

MR. MASON: 17 18 the tel€phone Washington, last

Good morning,

Your Honor.

I was on

conference,

Gary Ma.s-on, Ma.son Liiw Fi.J:m,

D.C6 MR~ BARNETT: 1 'm Alexander Barnett fOr the

20

!

;plain:tiffs,

at.so tram
MR. CHAIKIN:

the Ma,$on Law Firm.

21
22 23
.24

Jor·danChaikin for the plaintiff ..
thr!ee, of you from the Mason

'THE COURT': .Are the

law firm?
MR. BARNET'F::

Just the

two

of us •

25

Ttm COURT: Just the two of you.

The 9'sntl'eman on

1 2 3 4

I

,

the end, wha,t law fim are you, with?
MIL. CHAIKIN:

Weinstein. okay. All right, and for

ii
, .,
;

THE COURT': Weinstein,

5 6
7 8 9 10 . 11 12:
I

MR. WALlER:' Edward NaIler firm in 'Tampa fo,r defEmdan.t General Al Bogard who is senior 'Louisyil1e ,. THE COURT: 'W'elc~ to all Ii tigation

from theFowl,@r White 'E.1!sctric, and wi'th me is counsel for GE.from

of you who have come
As I said, we'r,e

from, near or T~a
here fo.r a fai.rness

or Washington,

D.C.

hear,ing. I re,eeived a copy of a
just fi.led I thinJc it was filed to zead because

pleading' -- well" a pleading that was apparently either yesterday o.r today.

.v

13,

today" tha:t it was to, be, an

14 15
16

I have not had the opportunity j use ... it was just -

handed 'to me.

And. it appears

objection to the settleHlent, although this is -- this is well pa.st the deadline for objections
1

17

to be filed. ceunsel.,

Let me

.~
,

rs
19 20

go ahead and hear from. the plaintiffs

I see rthere ' 5 somebody her,a who wants to speak and address "": 11 11 just say it 'I sway past, way past when

!

21
.22
I

I the, deadl.me was.
without mcnths aqo,
IDoyou
I

I don't

,remember precisel.y

when it came,
some

loo.king at my notes here,

but it was oertainly

2:3

But I' 11 go ahead and hear from.Mr .Weinst,ein. that issue, 5,ir?

24
2.5

want to go ahead and address
MR.. WEINSTEIN:: Yes.

May it please

the Court?

5

v

1

"THE GOURT: Yes., sir.

2
J.

',MR. WEINSTEIN:

Your Honor, if you don.'t mind,

I'd

like to go a, little relevant

bit

out

o:f order,
jUisrt

b€!cause I think

it' s

4 5 6 7 B
9
I

to what Your' Honor

asked. about" and Siort of

int.rodUoe, even though it may not be my rol'e to do so, Ca.therine Carmi~t;
who is

hare ,

I know who Ms. Canni vet is an

because she and her partn,€!:r, Nancy IGrog1n, started organization called

Bring Good Things to Li.f,e ~org .o,r.com~
• o:rg ~ They

MS~ CAlNiNlVET:

own . com.

10 11
12

rot.
I believe obj ectaon ..

WEINSTEIN: Bring 'Good Things to .Life is GEl.

.i,t r s MS,., Carmi,vet who handed

Your Hono:rthat

<:»

13 14
V5, 16 1'7

:MS CANN : • I VET
THE COURT: Het s speaking because

It's

not an. .objection.

Ma ' am, you need. to wai t a minute.
speaks at a time

now, and only ons person

the court repoirter

can't

take down two people

speaking at a.time. MR. WEINSTEIN: ladies

18
19

MY'genera.1 poai, tion

aboutthesle

is I hold them in very high regard.

'They really they did. was

.20 .21
22
I

increased

the notioe plan that we have.Wha.t

not part of the notice plan, but because of the media attention, the \1mb si,te that
the web site
they
-

set up -- and they know
I think tbe publicity and

23

how many hits

got

24 25

the .in.fonnation
possibly

that consumers got was far grea.ter than, we
I know that as a. .fact because I

could have, dane.

6

1 2

got inquiries
ladies.

that were sort o:f referred through these believe that. the Court .~~even thougih
a"

I certainly

3
4

Ms., Cannivet may not have any standing' because she's not
merrber of the class, I take hers,eriously and I think that

5
6 7

she' s worthy of being listened to '. I have net seen the letter that she jlUst banded. you, other than for a second.
She menti:oned while
we, 'we~e

.~

,

B
9 10 11

I sitting in
i

'the gallery here that she had .something for Your

Honor '.

Now, I believe

that

the

.1ett.er has s,onnethingt,o

do

with a notice

plan. ~ Your Honor while I address the
I

May I be seated,

12 13 14 15 16
17

Court?
THE, COURT': Yes,

sure.

That would.be fine

'0

Do

you want a copy of it? as .Mr. Waller. minutes

Wecan prInt one up for you, as well I was jillfi,t handed it five

Like I said,

a.go and, -- or ten minutes ago, and I was in the: sentenci.nq, so it' os only now that I can. Lcokae

mi.ddl.e efa .it,.

18 19

Why don't

we go ahead and get a oopyand sir,
Mr. Wa,ller? I just

you can

.20ta.ke
2.1 22
23

a look.

Yes,

MR. W1ULER:

want to get a copy.
up copies now~Why
dian 1 t

THE COURT: We'11 print

we take a moment and look at Lt so we know what we' re talkin.g about. myself. I'm. going to take a. moment to read it,
it'?'
Can. we print

24 25

It 'I s document 74 on

Ca,5,e'

'jl
7

]
f

1

05-C1vil-186,

if somebody can look it up on CM/ECFand go
up a copy for Mr. weinstein. and Mr Waller.
9

2
3 4

ahead and print I'm
Mr., Weinsb~in,

]Iust going and read

to take a. I'fIOl1!'Ie.nt ow, n
through this.
I

5 6 7 8
9

(Pause)

'THECOURT: I fIli'ljust

going

to, note the date

for

filing

objections

In this case was,.March, 4.th" 21006, and. 1
.I

that was my .order that was issued! previ,Qllsly.
deadline of March 14th~ It's

issued a

very hard when we' re here on

10
11

April. 27th and. scmebody is six weeks lat'ewith

an object.ion,

to hand it to us on the m:>rningtha.t wet re having a hearin.g. You knowr e'ven a couple of days ag'O, although it still
I

12 13
14

would

have been untimely, wollld have given us the oppo.rtunity to
have reviewed this the opportunity it, to lIsten with time, would have given the parties listen
.j

15 16 17
UI 19

to be pr,eparoo;to

to it, to look at

t,o the arqumerrta,

to look, at it" rather than

being handed it the momenttha:t a hearing is supposed to

begin,

},5

just not the way ~ Itt s just not the way things

are

done.

20

MR. WEINSTE,IN:

:MS. cannivet

just

whispered
I

tome

21
22
23

she does not intend this to be an objection.
what it is.

dan' t .know

She said she just: wished for the Court to read

lit..

1 donrt

speak for her, but that r s what-Well, I t 11 9i ve her 1 just of being fair, I' 11 give, .

24 25

'THECOURT:: All right. since she f s here., in the interest

s

1 2 .3 4 5
J

her the opportuni tyto, ,addr,ess the: Court i.n a ,moment. ,All right. long. Fo,rme to really Well, I mean, this is seven pa,ges understand
thiS'1

it would takeme ahead, rna'am.. hasprovidedl I'm

more than five minutes, to read it, sorry, ,this name?
MS. CANNlVET: Catherine
THE, COURT:
I
I

but; go

don t. have your name. The ladywho
Ii m

6
7' 8 9 10 11

documerrt to the court.,

sorry, rna' am" what is your

Canni vet.
your

How do 'you spell

last

n~?

MS. CANNIVET:

C~A-N-N-I~V~E-",.

THE COURT: I-E-T? MS. CANNlVE,T: C-A~'N~N-I-V-E-T. Is it okay if I

12 13 14

ad::lressthe: Court, Your Honor?
'['HE COURT: Yes, I' 11 give
I address,

you. a few rooment,s to

15
16

th~ Court.
M'C'
!.~~~

Go ahead;. I 1 m in this courtzccsn today, Your

.....'71"-'II\,wIlw-T ~'tL~ -'v',6," :

17
18 19

Honor1 on.behalf of and to speak for hundreds of thousands of i'lmElri,caneit.izens,
c'lass even happened, THE COURT: Well"
I for

that had no, idea 'that this settlement

2.0 21
2.2
i represent

I don I' t think

you're

spea.king

them because youtr'a not -- you're not entitl@d to
them .•

23
2,4

ME. CANNIVET: I understand. and I m going to gi.ve you a ,fewmarrtent,s
'I

But I ~-

THE COURT: What I want to ask you about is this,
1

25

okay, I 11 9,i ve you
t

1

up to ftve minutes to address the Court.

The' problem is

2
3

tha.t you.tva come here at the very last momentwithout ,telling us in advance that you wanted to say something I

4
5

wi thout having .filed sor:oothing in the, records.
the way --

That's not

6 7 8 9

MS.CANNlVET :
THE COURT:

I can explain.

that.

we operate because it' s just not
I understand.

MS. CANNIVET: I understand,
THE COURT:

fair

to peoplo@. And quite frankly,

10
11

I could right now .._ I think I would CEl,rtainl y bs wi.thin my' I,rights to tell you you didn't timely file
this and not gi va to say anything at all.

12
"'\."._/

you. the opportuni.ty

13
.14

MS.. CANNIVET;

I appreciate: that.
briefly" 'V\ery brieflYI give

THECOURT: So I will

15 16
17

you tbe opportunity to addresst'his"
anybody

not on behalf of

but yoursfelf, because

you do not represrsntanybody ~

'Y'-ou represent. yourself.

You do not have the ri9ht. to

18
19 20

represrent ,anybody other than youraal.f because you're not -unless
YOll.'

re a lawyer representing
No, I'm

people ~

MS.. CANNlVE,T:
THE COURT:

not.

21
2.2 .23 2,4\ 25 of people

'Tbenyou

can ~t rep.res'sntanybody

except yourself

~ I'm jlust trying to. speak fo.r a lot

MS.. cmuvET:

I know who aze ups,et about this.

I conmunicate

I...__

wi th people constantly

by email and. phone~ April 17th is

-...... ___

10

1 2
],

when the most recent

,set '0'£ court documents were filed
last minute.
:I?ri'marily,tha,t

with

the Court~ That ga,ve us a lot of information that wewer,e not awar'eof until
'approximately

4

only 47,,000 claiJnforms

had even been filed

5 6
7

out of a class estimated that could go as high a.s amillian people.
THE COURT': Let me just let me,just ask you

B 9 10
11

something,
o'bject,ing

in terms of cutting

to the chase,

.Are you

uo the: settlement or not.?
MS,. CANNIVET: I ':mnot objectin.g

to the

settlement.
some --

I "masking that a. pr-ovision or amendment or happen here to e,xtend these deadlines, ~
Their chance to

12
<:» .13

something

,Most people mi ssed these deadlines.

14
15 16 17 18

pa,rticipate in the settlement is already gone.
THECOURT: .then. then Ml right ~ Why don' ,t you have a seat, me just
ell!

You want it ex.tended -- let I rm going: to ask you to have

ask you this You want it

and

seat.

extended by what amount of time?

19 20 21
.22

MS. CANNIVET:Deadline at least

another 90 days.

I donJ t feel that the notificati,on process was,suf'fici:ent from what we've been hearing from people.
that had models in thi,s suit
t

There's people
by GE so they

tha.t had repairs

23
.24

.should have been in GE 5 r-ecords and. they neverrecei
c.La im foms~ 'THECOURT: If you r ve been
13'0

ved

25

invol ved in this

.

11

1
2 ,3
4:

case, why did you not file this before t.oday'?'
MtS. CANNlVET:: It'V7e been trying to oonrnunicate the class and corrrnunicate

with the attomeys repr-esenting these concerns

for a, couple weeks.

I, 'went to the Attorney to go,

5 6

General'r s office to class counsel,

with what I knew, and. I was directed which I did.Bu't
my email 5 this

week have

7 '8
9 10 11 12

;been returned.

I'm having difficulty

ccmnunicating

and

'providing the evidence

to, the class counsel~
you've mis.sed,the -to the, adequate but GE There's '

THE COURT: The problem is, d.eadline.

If you had wanted to do scmething MS. CANNIVE"T:Oh, I ne,verobj ected

s@ttlement .

I thought

it was a, ver:y good, fair

13
14 15 16 17

settlement.

I was very pIe'as,ed with. the settlement.,
is that the -- I don 1 t f,eel that process pr'operly~

what I hav;e noticed
really perfcrmed

the notification that

too many people

'we've heard. from tha:t should. have did not ~ There" 5 people that is.

recei'ved claim,fo]JlllSthat

18
19

reeef, ved claim fo:rt'l1Swhere a postmark on the envelope
March 1s'th, one day after

t.h!!

deadline

for opting out and

20
21 22 23 24.
2.5

obj'ecting.

I oommunicate,

Your Honor,r with people __, l'v,e I'.mvery
well awar'e of

communicated with about 2500 people.
.what. ~S been going on. THE COUE:T: Okay~

Well" the only problem is you I'm hearing
for that.. this now.

didn.1't c:onnunieate with the, Court., MS. ~IVET: I apologize

I realiz,e

,
r

12

~

1 2:
.3 4 5

I

I

it 'I S the

last :minute. I've been trying to corrmunicate' with

class counsel for a wee.k: egarding these is,sues. r
THE COURT: I 'm trying ve,ry hard to do. the right thing by 'everybody here and -MS.CANNIVE'T : I understand, and I really

6
7

apologize for doing this last minute. THECOURT: The probl'€m is yOu may not get. the
thing when ,you do it at the 11th hour because the:re

Bri9ht 9 10 11 12 13
14:

are rules and .regulations in place,. place.

There are daadl.mee in Youmiss

You may have the best case in the world. That's the w,ay

the deadline,; you're out of' luck.

TH! COUR'T: Let me just

finish.
I

Tha:t ~3 the

way

the court system operate,s,.. limi tations,

If there s a statute

of

15 16 17 18:
19'

you miss the de,adline, tha.t "s i t ~ And the in

reason we do that is because we need to have finality life

and we 0000 to' have finality with matters that are That •s why' we ha:v:e deadlines, so date.
S

handled by the courts.

'that people know you. have a deadline as of a certain

20

I f you miss the deadline, unfortunate,

you :mayhave a claim", it
And
hour

I

very youf ritl'
,. ,

21
22
2..3 :24

but you've missed the deadline.
.a·t
t' .

SQ
'M

11.' as ~.:Lng me now,

h..s· L1,th 00'.·_.'.•... at; '. ·.ur'

th·

.

e-. L ..l.th

J.·

t·h.'0··. ut ...

realTy, as far as I' mconcerned, an adequate explanation. as to why you did not come forward to the Court .beforehand, which you wO'llldhave had the opportunity

25

here.

I mean,tbe

13

~ ..
'.

1
2 3
iii

apprecia,tes

what you've done, in essence,
You're somebody who'
8

admi,res. obviously

the
I t

work

toot you 'I vie done.

you

kn.ow, savvy,

knows what she "s doing,

yet you haven t come you. had a concern where
long ,ago, to. have done

5 6we

before the Court and explained that
w:ould have had the opportunity,

7
8
9

somethingi'the right way and the cozrect way.
MS~ ~IVE'r: I understand.,

Your Honor ~

I tr'i.oo

to. pursue the proper

channels, which was the Attomey

10
11

General O'ffice and then class counsef , 'THECOURT: I would disag;ree pzepez channels.
that. don"t

that you pursued

rthe

12

I really do.

I completely disa.gree with
But why have

It t S the Court which is the proper channel. you have
,6;

seat; and I will

S~

what the attorneys

15
16-

to. ,s,ayabout this", and I'll
MS. CANNlVE'l': THE COURT:

decide what I f:mqoing to. do.
thank you~ You maybe seated. I t 11

Okay,

17
IB 19 20 hear

Thank you.

f,rom.Mr. w:ei:nstein fi.rst, and then I III turn to
Mr. weinstein?

Mr. Wall,er.

MR.,WEINSTEIN: Your Honor, we agree that our
I

21
22

primary
adequat'e.

responsibility
The notice

is making sure that notice:" is
plan which Your Honor preliminarily

23
.24 25

'approved
sore ofa

and then we had at status
S1.lII'ma:ry review of it"

conference and tber'e was
it. was

Your Honor fOW1d that

adequate~

14

1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
5+

THE COURT: I did,and be adequate to roo,. MR~WEINSTEIN: c.f the -- well, cut Now, let

it app.ear@d abs<)lutely

to

II
me give Your Honor some I meant; to do before

one thing

when we were

of:f" I w,a:nted to Lntiroduce.

Mr. Bill Turn@r who is· the
this case.

11:l_a_ss representativ:e ..
L'U..

who, came, forward and brought

Turner is thegrentleman here.
THE COURT': Yes, sir; Mr. Turner.

MR. WEINSTEIN:: The, not.ice
i things

plan

cons,isted

of two direct

10
11 12

~ Everybody
a, not.Ice,

in. the database would rece.iva,by And a'ffldavits in the file ,show that

ma.il,

447" 000 of those direct
'THE COURT : not

mail notices were sent 'out,.
i'

13
14

Just so we're clear

Ms.

Ganni vet

is

a liUleItiber of the clas,s; is she?

15
16

MS. CANNlVET': Yes'l I did ,own one of these

refriger,ator.s,

yes.
11m.

17 18 19
20

THE COURT:

not
Yes'l

talking
I am.

to you,ma

Tam..

MS. CANNIVET: THE OOUR-T: Is MY. weinstein'?
'MR. WEINSTEIN:
I resident

she a member of the class,

21
22 2.3 24
'\..J

I believe she is not.

She was a

at Island

Walk, which is a .Naples oonrmuni y where t
the

GE" befoI"ethis l::lefrig'erators one part

cl.ass wa5 ever br,ought, GE replaced
th€lrevoluntarily.

So Me., canndvet never

had

25

of this class ~ I don t tbelieve

she slll':1nitted. ,a

1.5

<:»

1
2 3
4,

claim

fOml~

'THE COURT:

Ms. Carmivet;

you are

not

a rnerrber

of

this

class.

'Youdid not submit. a cl.aim .fonn.

You do not So I do not

have e.uthori"ty to speak on behalf o,f the class.

~
6 7

have the ~~ you do not have stan.ding ~ I mean, the legal
word is you don.'t have standing to appe,ar in trd.s proceeding and to make a ease to this Court in ·tenTl!S~)fyour interest

e
9 10
11 12

in this proceeding because you lack. standing.
you T re 'wei-cane to say in this know"

All right,

so'

hearing,

you r m welcome" you

to listen

to what'a going on, but you.do not have COurt about -- about the way
~1Jl

standing to compl,ain to this
that this was handled because

are not a member of the

13 14 15 16 17 18 19

class;' therefore" That
'5

you. do not; have standing.

something that I missed earlier.

I

aasumed -- or if you said. it,
past me.

it went. .right over me or went

I assumed. she was a member of the class and so as she would have the r,ighit to come,in
she
I'

a member a.f the cfass,

here and to address the Court. c'Lasa, ldon'lt COurt.

,5

not a memberof the to actk'essthis then.
I

believe she has a right

20
,21 22

Sa,go ahead, Mr. we:ins'tein.

Wet 11 continue,

MR. WEINSTEIN HOwever : ,along'the:
:something that Ms. Cannivet

lines of that we

rais,ed., the databa.se

23

dis.cussed with GE consisted. of ---when I say the database, this 1.5 who got direct mail notices" 'warranty card.
eve:rybody who sent in a

24 25

You get a vef.rigerator,

you have an en.velope

16

1.

with the card, and. they encoura-ge you to go online and regis.te:r with GEor mail this
I

2 3 4 5 6 7 B
9'

in.

.Everybody is in the

database whc got a direct

mail notice. who made a warranty ,claim and ever contacted obviously overlaps

In addit.ion,everybody

or had a problem with the refri.gera,tor GE,was in that. database. because many ,-people that 'Tha.tdatabase

sent in the warranty claim an!!:the

same people that had a problem 'with the: r@friger,ator.
To GE~s credi t,Mr . Bogard, who is both counsel '

10 11

r-€!pr-esenting GE, but also ccrpcrata

counsel

with whomIt ve has told us

'been dealin.g on almost a daily basis on.this,
I that I

12

'there are additional

th.eoretical class memberswho IM.,Y-

v.

13
14
1.5

not havegot'ten direct

notice .' And obviously, our

responsibility is to tate, that from. theory 'to certainty.
And by that I mean there

are pooplewho bought an extended such as Home~t, re.gistration and
who

16
17 18
I

wa,rranty through a dealer,
· have sent in thei.r wa,rranty

may not never

who may

have had a ·se.rv.i:cecall,
that databas,e

and th,9'reforE!:,

they were not in

19 20 21 22 23
24
I

that I jus't talked about ~ However, GEhas

r,ea,lized they have awa,y of identi:fying those people because they bought an extended, w,arrantyand ther'e' s a database and
there

'

it would ce:rtainly ,overlap with this,but
you know, again,

maybe

people whodid not get direct not.Ice who they can identify.
And,

doing tbase affidavits

and real.ly

25

explo,ringthings, i't was GEtha.t came to us and. identifi.ed

17

1 2 3
4,

.that to us '.
THE COURT: And have they done that now", to

your

sat.i.s fa:cti on, Mr. Wein.stein '?
MR. WEINSTEIN:

This is happening

now~ What we something that"

5, 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

discussed I mean,

this

morning -- and thi.s is really I think, addressae,

Mr., Bog'ard.,.

but it't s s.amething

that they jlust disclosed

to us, that

there may be people

thatdidn." t get di.rect notdce. 'we described, additional but it's

It' s not the database 'that
They can capture

a broade,r datiabase ,

people in a di.fferentw,ay

that nobody thought of they didn. ",t argue s,ugges,tedi

before ~ And so tha,t by mutual e.greement, with us' and we certainly that the

said, you~re right/we~ve claim forms
I

13
14 15 16 1'1 1,8
19

-- that addi tlonal

if tnere are new
send them .. the

people,

'they'roe going to COllL'pare the databases,

out and give those people the same amount of time that people who've already cla.ims,. .Additionally,
Ms~ Canni.vet said, jIUSt.to' address sometlhingthat,

g'otten claim ferms had to' make their

even though the claim form deadline me, and I maw .chi s as a fact

has

20 21 22 23 24

passed,

GE has told

because,

I fro dealing

with them, they'.re Btill them.. let

,accepting claimfoIlllS

and processing

If' they get a. 'cla.im form toda.:y from it sit around, and didn't get it in on

somebody who just time,

they 1 re processing

it and t,h,ey· 1:1e giving them the

25

II

I

class benefit.

18

v

1

Not only tha.t,

even though.

Your Honor has not yet

2
3

sign.ed or entered a. final order" and they donl't even need, to
do this"

they have now servfced progr.atrI,even

about; 25,000 refrigerators

4
5

under this

though Your Honor hasn't tyet

signed

the order requiring
t

them to, do it because rather than get worse and worse

6
7' :8:
9

wa,iting for peopl'E!srefrigeratorsto
and worse, replacing they're

·ta,kingcarre of i t ~ Th.ey"re also.
' ,appenlbng.

refri'g·era.tors even before the final crder ,
'h Th~ngsa,re

They're continuing to
.... if we _
that

10

aceept newcla.im take this

fODnS.,

And if there are people

11
12

from theory and we realize
can identify

itt s certainty,

there are people who, they

who did not g·et a

13 14 15
16 11

claim

foI.1n

directly,

those people are going to get a claim

form and they t re going to get many, many more R'IC:Inths send to

thelr

claim in.

So wel'rEI satisfied
to make sure that

with that proeess ,
our c.li@nts get actual

That':3 our job,

notice

9

18
19 20 me turn

THE COURT: Okay. to Ed therMr

Thank you, Mr. Weinstei.n.

Let to

. Boqa.r-da,r Mr. Wall'erwi th .respect

. that matt.er,
MR.. BOGARD: Your Han-o,r I I'd

21
22 2.3 24
....._.jJ ..

like

tc address the I learned thi.s

database issue that Mr. weinstein .raised. morning at 7 :00,

while tra,veling to Fort Myers, tha.t there
where some people may have been.

was this

situation

25

inadveJr:tentl y emitted from the direct

mail li,st..

The:

19

·\.._./

1 2
3 4: 5 6 7 B 9 10

infoIlIliltion tectmology
updated one another

person that originally pulled the
spo.ke to one another and
baaLs ,

data assumed tha.t two databases
on a daily

Tha.t as.stlmp,tion we may have,
• 1

proved to be false, theoretically,

and as a result,

some· peopl,e that were not Lncl.uded,

loon'
. theoretically

t know the n1JRlber.. .As Mr • Weinstein
it could be zero if all of tbesepeople·

said,
either

regis:teroo their
call, W'ejust

product; or if they -- if they had a. service

they would -~ they would have already don t t· know..

reoei ved nctdce,

One thing' we do know is we want to

11
12

notify these people.. It's
'Wethink

in our best; interest to do so.

we1 v€ represented to the Court that we would do

13
14

this,

so this

little

mi.s,understanding· is something that we We want tooorrect
it as soon as possdbl.e,

want tooorrect.

THE COtJRT:: lUl right.
16 11 18 19 :20
1

Well very .good,. then.~
then, that. we need to 'the

i

Sounds like

you.

t

re both. in agreement" o:f time so' that

extend this period proper notice cor.rect '?

you can provide

to these potential

class

met:rbers; is that.

MR.. BOGAR():
I

That

is correct, Your Honor ~ Wi th
-

21
22. 23 2·4
\._./;.

t'espect

to deadlines,

we' re being very lenient.

about
I

'deadlines.

We!re not te:lling

peopd.e they can ·takee forever

but. at the same time" we1 re .accept.ing claim

forms eVisry day,

and it I S in our Lnterest; to make sure these prodUcts are fi}'osd.

20
\

V

1 2 3 4; 5 6 7

THE COURT':

Okay, fair
,

enougn.
.

Well,

I will

--

then what should. we do? to continuethi.s still hearing,

19ues.s, ,Probably the best; thing Ls the:n"foranother are out there, day. If you

have other cla.ims that

I think that

that might be the way to proceed,
,to what you all detemdnation say.

but I'I 11 ce:rtainly listen

You know, I have a hard time l'I.llJ.kinga Lssuee if there are still,
who

cn ecme of these

8
9 10 11 12

you, know I claims out there,

if there, ~ somebody S

still

has the opportuni.ty to obj'!.f:ctto it.. betherro.re prudent course

:r

think, tnat it would

of conduct would be for me to hearing afte:r these other

wait and to scheduleanothe,r
potential class

merrbars have been notified~

Bu.t you mow, or

13
14 15 16

I' llce'rtainly

keep ,an open mind if you f'eel differen.tly

want to argue diffe.rentl:y

to the Court. what. are your

So Mr. .Boga.rd, Mr• Weinstein, thoughts on tha.t st1b:ject?
MR. 'WEINST'EIN:

17 18 19
20

:r

think

Mr. Masonwill-sf,r ,

'THE COURT.~ Go ahead,

MR. MASON: 'Obviously

(li,sclosing

my

biases,

Your

Honor 1 I'I m going to makaa suggestion final 'this fairne'ss, nearing exact ,situation today'.

that

we can have a e~rienced

21 22 23 24

And I haven1t

.befor!9" but I think the Lsaue is what who

do we do about 'the right to obj ect ~ And we have persons have a .right t.oohject, direct as well as, to, opt out,

who may not

25

have reoed wd

notice ~ Now', it' s not, tha:t they

21

1
2 3
4:

haven

f

11:

received.

due precess
notice

notice,

in my judgment .

We've

had the very extensive notice.

program and publi!cation

THE:;GOIlRT': You. have.

I mean, you've gone above
noticed last time that we you .know ,Parade I

5 6
,
'

and beyond the call 'had the hear,ing,

of duty..

J[

I ,saw the clippings

fran,

7
·8

Magazine

l

rna;jo.r newspapers throughout. the United st.ates,
of duty as to

I

tnink youl"ve: g,ooe above and beyond tne call
what. '5 required. MR. MASON: Thank you, Your Hono'r. ,for

9
10

And. thank

you

11

to GE, of course, deserves
which compares actions generally
wha.t

credit

funding' that p,rQgram"

12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21

quite

favorably

to other consumer class with . And the la:w

that we1ve been involved provides

tnat

direct

noti.ce is not necessard.Iy in a class action, le,tter

has to be provided..

It's, always,

th.e're" s personseuch

as re,ferenced

perhaps in this

.receivedthi.s

]l[lQ.][nin,gwho didn't

get the ootj:C6: and they -but

there •5 lo,ts of reasons why not e'veryb:xiy gets notice, as GE'I' s own counse.l,Mr. morning, the ultimate notice there's ,is, practicable, Walle'r, pointed out to
EnE!

thi,s is best and

standard

in the LitlTlan test notice

and. if one 'canprovlde

22
23
24

a. mech.ani.sm, and we heard thi,s; marning that there
5'0.,

one should db Now/what

An.dthat.' s

that

I

5,

where we are. finali.ty

happens if we groahead

towards

25

today and there

'I

s objlection.$ that. have come in. in the

22

1
2 3

I

I

future'?

Ithin:lol.: I can address

that .narrow, t,echnical

point ~

'.On the one, hand, I think there t s a oertain. lies on that. side of the table because

exposure that

in theory -- I don T t.

4
5 ,6

think I've ever encountered this kind of situation in a small claimconSUlOO,r case,
j, ust;

but in theory"

some c'laes :membe.r;

like

in any class

sctaon, could say I di,dn't recei va

7
8 9 10

adequa.te notice

and.! 'm not -- you know, I can F t be estopped I I'm going to file rny own Litman class actdon
a clas.s act.ion on behalf
and,

from raising
grou;p Oof people

'or I I'm going' to file

of this

sma,ll

who didn't recei ve notice,

they would. or

11 12 13
14

have probabl.y a good!argument to say that your approval,
whateve'r,

if it was today, was improvident, at. least
l

as to
t

them, becaUS 9 th.ey didn ' t have adequ,ate

not:ice.

But that

,5

their

risk,

I would say.

15
16 objections

I thin.k, more substantively
came in asa result

what happens if acme
we send 250 pieces notices" I would

of this,

:n
18

of paper out and t.heze'.s ,suggest,

seme additional

Your H.onor, that if -we take

a step

back and look at

19 20
21 22 23 24

where,we are in this case

we have roet our respons.ib.ilities

to achieve the ends that the notice and object i.on process is
!designootoachieve, eKtensive notioe, meaning that we have had e,xtremely which is not designed. necessarily fromevery person that
r

t.o 'get.

every objection solicit j ud~nt

sout

there but to

enough infbz:mat.ion fO.rthe about. the settlement.

Court to render its

. ...._;

25

And one of your c:ri'teria

23

v

1
2

that the Court has to consider
'of the objections. imagine that there's It
l'

i.s !be amount and substance to say tnac _,_ it's
hard to

sfair

3 4: 5
6

goin.g to be such a sig,nificant

increa,se

in obj ectdcns coming in. that would be persuasive Court on that particular point in the sense that

to the we have

such a minima.l amount of cibjlec::tions,
I

as a matter of

7'
B

percentages,

that

regardless

of what even the sUbstance was addressed in our brief, of

of the four objections,whichwe

9

course, they are such a small pero€!ntages of th.e overall

10
11

posi tiva response in this
cases hold that the Court factor for settlement, few objections.

class

that

as a matter

of law', the, a. plus
I'S

that that'ls actually

12 13
14:

not a negati ve,that

there

been so

'THECOURT': Iunde,rstand"

Mr ~Ma.son~ I have to

15

tell

you the truth,

though,

I am relu,etant,

in light o:f 'tbi.s

"

}6 17 19 19 2.0

latest

development, to enter an order today.
MR,. MASON: I appreciate

that, Your Hono,r '.

THE COURT: I really

am.

I mean, your arguments

are well made arguments, but I just feelw;ry uncomfortable
doing that wi.thout giving these other people who may not

21
2.2

have .rece:ived notice
e.Lass the ,opportunity

and are appropriate

members of the
I I'd just as

to come in and obj ect .

23 24 25

soon handle i.t ,all at the s,ame time.
L€!t me just

see, Mr. Wallert do you have an
fashion?

objection

to that,;

with do,ingr it Ln that

24

v

1
2

II
the: notice
I
!

MR. WALLER:

NO, Your

H.onor.
5

I gtJe:ss we would

want to maJce sure that if there'
that we would r'eally

a continued hearing that

:3
4,

now send ,cut ~_, once wa detiermi.ne
have been mi,ss,eo.. nd the a names and addre5ses hear',ing date and
.>

I

if there extent

are peopl.e that

5 6

of them and we obtain their

w,e notify

them,

1 gue's8 o,f a

continued

and,

7 8
9' 10 11 1.2

.additional deadlines, we want to ma.ke sure that 'that; l' ,8, the extent of our obligation
sure there's

at this point.

Wewant to make

no reason and no benefit

to an.ybody 'to .:renotioe noticed.

the 400-SOIne:thous,and, that we' vealread!y THE COlJlRT: No, sir,

no, you will those

not have

'to,

do

that.
all.

You do not need to renotice It sjust
t

other peepl@ at

v

13 14
H5

thlsnew

group of pecple that have, not, And as you saad, there It may be -Or it may be very

previously been noticed.
in that class • MR. WALLER:

may not be

15, I anybody

minimal.

17 IBsomehow. ,19 20 .21
22 . 23
But I just

feel more oomfortable", Mr~W:al1e:r;

doin.g it that way,. and I hope it doesn! t, caus,eeither
too much trouble but I just pnsf'er to, do Lt that way.

of you I

think that is the cleaner way of handling this. :fairest way of handling issues, or fewer issue,s down t,heroad.
·MJR. WA,L,LER: And thil::oug'h.out, Your Honor,
priIMLry concern has been to ta~e care

It' s the
be no

it, and that way ther,e will

24 25

GEr e

of pr<oblems that

.~. 25

1

people ha.ve wit.h these units,
moisture

to the extent they have

I

2
3

problems, to take care of them, and we think--we
continue to. d.o that.

have been doing that and. we'll THE COURT!

.Mr. Weinste~i:n?
Mr
6

MR. WEINSTEIN:

Tw::ner

Ls here today I and I

6. 7

don't

kn.oW' when the continued hearin.g is going to be, and of time· •

Mr. 'Turner goes out of the area fo·r lar-ge' periods

8
9

Would it be a.ll rightfo.r

him to address the Court today?
Mr. Turne·r, you may come

THl!: COURT: Yes, sir.

10
11

fOIWard. as t'he, -rep.resenta.ti ve class

:member.

Go abead, sir. One

MR.. TURNER:. Thank you very

nueh, Your Honor.

12
\...,.....'.

of the thin.gs that has been RlC)st ewa.rding for me 1.5 ·that. r after
years

13

serving in the broadcast pro,fessioo. ·for 50.... plus
--

14.
IS

I know the Court r s lookin9 at me and.sayin.g what,.
I

you don' t look that old..

One of the things,

our job ·was to

16
17

serve the publicI and one .af the gratifications
in oooperetdon
jd th

I have t.hat ,
Electric

the judici.al syst.em, General.

18
19 20 21

and the court system, this is
61.

I' ha:ve mo.~econfidenoe than ·everthat

great country to live in because I kn,ow some
I I've received phone calls. Ihad

peopl.e have been helped.

one of th€! ref.rigerators.;

mine was repl.aced~ .All of the And.

22
23

things tha·t we sa.i.d would be accomplish.ed., no special mailing to me, it wa,s part of the cLa.ss actdon suit.

.24:
25

for someone who ,earlier in his career, when he retired

down

~I
26
1
t

1 2 3

yea.rs" and one of the things that we learned is please ta~e care of the public., Now, there'
'can extend things "but
5

a lot of things that can happen.
I

We

4 .5
6

heard today that 20"""Piu.stl10usand includingmy'

people have' received new r!efrigerato,rs,
household,

and I'm here to say that; I"m proud of the people,

"'}' who represented me in this class ac-tion aui.t ,
B '9 10 11 the cooperation we received fr():I.nGeneral

I 'm preud of

Elect.ric solving
reached.

some problems .

Everyone probably court

wasn't

'The.re s a
jI

lot. o:f people,astbe fill

knows.. that you can ask them to
'r

something' out and send it back in, and it

S about;

two

12

months a.fter the Court -- the voting is over, and they say, well, I didn" t get my' ballot.
Well, you have to B,s,k
fOiIL

a

14 15 16
11

ballot.

So with the Court':s -- I'd like to make this apart and thank :you ve,rymuch for allowing me to be

of the thing,
h.ere today,

THE COURT: Certainly,

Mr. Turner.

Thank you for

I'

18 19 .20
21

your comments.. I did find, though, just

:for the record,

I

did .find that the notice, was appropria,te that had. been provided, and I think that both sides went out of their way ,to try to provide not.ification
You mow, that

to the membersof the class
6

2.2
23

I,and I app.rec.iate, you know, your honest'y, counsel for GE
f

is

the way 'One .should oondu.ct themselves in

24 25

these type:s of proceedings ~ These issues often come 'Upat the last moment, and I apprecia.te your :being honest; and

27

1
2 3
4:

forthri9ht with the Court.
8:0 what
, I wei:

I I'm. going to do, then, is I guess I will
-- you

for a motion fr,om on€!: of you for addt tional

know" when an a,ppropr.iat@

time, schedule

might, be in teImS of

5 6
7 8

providing that notificati,on.

I would SU9gest if you two

could g[et together and provide a consent request O~ a jlo'int
motion to the Court for additionaltime,f mind, though, to extend I am not of the
I •

the t~

for the other

individuals"
that

9
10

unless you two aqzee 'to Lt,
the aJ;lp,ropri,ate notification

As I said" I found earlier
had been provided, Mr.

but you
Waller,

11
12
!

know, , GEand Mr. weinstein -- I should. say
Mr.

Weinstein,
..

is that ,something you two can agree, upon in.
-

13
14 1.5

lterms of ,additional time?
proerog:ati.ve. notification As I s,aid,

That is certainly
I found earlier

your

that epproprf.ate

had been given; MR. WALLER: [Thank you, Your Honor,
and we can

16
17wQrk out
/31,

proposed

stipulation

or time fr~

to the effect submit tha.'t to

1B
19 20 21
22,

that

peopl,e have not been noticed and jointly

Your Honor.

[THECOURT: proceed, then, '

I think

that would be the way to

'1

MR~ WEINSTEIN:

And then we'll

get a date

f,rom

23
.24

chambers f.or a final, THE COURT;

final hearing.
R""ht [ :1:9'
~..

Why d.on't you -- you t re going

•to need to consult wi th me on that.

You know, I go to

28

1

Jacksonville in about four weeks, so·I donlt know if it
would be in front of me or not.
MR. WEINSTE.IN: I didn't

2
3
4,

It may -..
know that.. Fo.rever Forever'?

THE COURT: W·ell,. no, be the for9"Jier, but it· will

in Tanpa,
tW()

that 'will
before this
I •

5 6.
7

take another

years like

I

get back to T8!lT!Ipa.So I don't that I've
I

know',

sOO1sthing'

worked on, I may acme back and handle my.sel.f, just I'v@ we·rked on ·the case. It will make it easier for

8

jbecause

9
10

eve.rybody.. hearing.
I

So I don' tknow:when we can schedule that
don' tknow how much time you! 11 have or you' 11

11
12

need.

Probably you 111 need a couple· of months, I imagine,
90 days or 120 days?
.Probably.

or at least

13 14 15
Hi 11

MR.• WALLSR:

THECOURT: jwith a date that
Myers.
'.8

Well, we'115·ee if we can all
COfIl'le

come up t.o Fort
here,

convenient fo:r .all of us to
only

I guess ther"9".8

one .of you tha.t' 51 local

Mr'. Mason is the only local

one

Y01l1 re

local;

19
20

MR. MASON:

I

1

m

D •.C.

THE COURT: Oh,that "Mr. Weinstein's Iocal., okay. ad·' . journ,
appreci.ate tilen~ ...

•s right.

You're

D..c.

21
22
2:3 .24

We '11 just go ahead and

T~han:k: ou everybody y

for Coming in and. We're adjourned on
. !

it, and we'! 1.1 move forward.

that. (Proceedings concluded at 11: 08 a..m. )

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