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I stepped out over the weekend to do a little lawn care, and as I placidly mowed the lawn my thoughts turned to lawsuits.  Specifically: the lawnmower lawsuit settlement now pending final approval by the court on June 22. 

At least 10 companies, including American Honda Motor Co., Inc., MTD, Sears, Deere & Company; Tecumseh; Briggs & Stratton, Toro, Husqvarna, and others, are defendants agreeing to settle a claim but deny wrongdoing.  Five settlements, totaling $65 million in cash, have been reached and are awaiting the Court’s authorization.

The lawsuit contends that manufacturers overstated the muscle in their engines; that their strength is not so much horsepower as it is Shetland pony-pull in gas powered mowers sold between January 1, 1994 through April 12, 2010.  If you purchased a mower from these companies, their brands, or have engines manufactured by them, you might want to check out the website to see if you qualify for compensation should the settlement be approved.

Let me be clear:  nothing about this lawsuit has anything to do with the safety of these mowers. 

Overseeing this dustup is the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, in a case called In re Lawn Mower Engine Horsepower Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 1999, 2:08-md-01999.  

 I’ve been compensated by a class action settlement before to the tune of $2.19, so the possibility of recovering up to $35 in this case has me near-giddy with excitement.  Riding mowers are included, which is bad news for participants in lawnmower racing:  if you thought your opponent was juicing their engine, it may be they were simply performing to specs.

Manufacturers have agreed to meet a new Certified Power Rating, testing their equipment in an arena with draft horses on one side, a self-propelled on the other.  Trojans are barred from overseeing this contest.

Also, anyone approved as Class Members, with lawn mowers having an engine made and originally warranted by Briggs & Stratton, Kawasaki, Kohler, Toro, or Tecumseh, get a bonus one year warranty on the engine, beginning after the Court’s final approval.  This warranty extension, with potential value of over $1 billion, covers repairs original engine warranties covered, according to Heins Mills & Olson, P.L.C., the law firm involved in the litigation, along with Morrison Fenske and Sund, P.A.  

So if your mower isn’t dragging you along with the strength of 20 stallions, check out the website for this class action lawsuit – you have until August 31 to submit your claim.  For more information, call 877-773-8196; write to Lawn Mowers Settlement, P.O. Box 2309, Faribault, MN 55021-9309; or visit the website at LawnMowerClass.com.

This post previously appeared in the Longmont Ledger.

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