Malone, et al. v. Western Digital Corporation
Western Digital Class Action Settlement
5:20-cv-03584-NC

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Expand/Collapse All
  • The lawsuit concerns Western Digital customers in the United States who purchased certain Western Digital hard drives with SMR technology.

    Plaintiffs alleged that Western Digital represented its “WD Red NAS” hard drives to be designed and suitable for use in NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices because the drives use “SMR” (Shingled Magnetic Recording) technology. Nicholas Malone, Chris Ayers, James Backus, Brian Conway, David Eaton, Steven Gravel, James Raaymakers, and Tod Weitzel are the plaintiffs in the filed class action lawsuit against Western Digital. The operative complaint in this case is available on this website. Western Digital denies these allegations, denies that SMR is inferior technology, or that it did anything wrong. Defendant contends that its SMR-based Red NAS drives were designed and extensively tested for use in the applications for which they were marketed, and Western Digital believes that the drives perform well in, and are suitable for use in, NAS devices employed in appropriate applications and workloads.

    Plaintiffs and Western Digital have now agreed to a settlement to resolve this lawsuit, as described below. The Court has not decided whether Plaintiffs or Western Digital are correct. By agreeing to the Settlement, neither Western Digital nor Plaintiffs make any admissions regarding the merits of the allegations, claims, or defenses in this case.

    The United States District Court for the Northern District of California is overseeing this lawsuit. The lawsuit is known as Malone v. Western Digital Corporation, Case No. 5:20-cv-03584-NC.

  • In a class action, one or more people sue on behalf of themselves and other people with similar claims. All of these people together make up the Settlement Class and are Settlement Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all Settlement Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Settlement Class.

  • The “Settlement Class” in this case is defined as:

    All persons in the United States (including its states, districts or territories) who purchased a WD Red NAS Drive using Shingled Magnetic Recording (“SMR”) technology between October 2018 and July 21, 2021. The specific hard drive models are: WD20EFAX (2TB capacity), WD30EFAX (3TB capacity), WD40EFAX (4TB capacity), and WD60EFAX (6TB capacity) hard drives. Excluded from the Settlement Class are any Judge presiding over this Action, any members of their families, and Western Digital and affiliated entities and their respective officers and directors.

    If you received a Settlement notice by mail or email, Western Digital’s records indicate that you may be in the Settlement Class. However, you are a Class Member if you fit within the Settlement Class regardless of whether you received notice by mail and/or email.

    People in the Settlement Class are called “Settlement Class Members.”

  • The complete terms of the proposed Settlement are set forth in the Settlement Agreement.

  • Western Digital will pay $2,700,000.00 into a Settlement Fund. This money will be used to: (1) make Settlement payments to Settlement Class Members for valid Claims, as described at Questions 6-9 below; (2) pay the costs of distributing notice and Settlement payment checks to Settlement Class Members and other costs of administering the Settlement; and (3) pay court-awarded attorneys’ fees and expenses of the attorneys appointed by the Court to represent the Class (“Settlement Class Counsel”) and any service awards granted to the Plaintiffs. Any remaining funds after Settlement Class Members are paid will be donated to Public Counsel. Western Digital will also disclose on the product’s packaging that the WD Red NAS drives use SMR technology for no less than 4 years after Final Approval of the Settlement.

  • The deadline to file a Claim Form passed on November 27, 2021.

  • The deadline to file a Claim Form passed on November 27, 2021.

  • The Settlement payment amounts depend on the capacity of the WD Red NAS hard drive(s) purchased by the Settlement Class Member. The payment amounts for each type of hard drive could also vary based on how many valid claims are filed. It is currently estimated that:

    • Purchasers of WD Red NAS Drives with 2TB capacity (WD20EFAX) or 3TB Capacity (WD30EFAX) will receive at least $4.00 for each drive purchased, subject to pro-rata adjustment, if applicable.
    • Purchasers of WD Red NAS Drives with 4 TB capacity (WD40EFAX) or 6TB capacity (WD60EFAX) will receive at least $7.00 for each drive purchased, subject to pro-rata adjustment, if applicable.

     

    If the amount used to pay eligible claims is less than the full value of the Settlement Fund (after payment of fees, costs, notice, administrative costs, and service awards), then each claimant’s recovery will be increased on a pro rata basis up to a maximum of 85% of the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) value of the drive purchased. The MSRP value that will be used for a pro rata adjustment will be as follows: 2TB (MSRP $84.99); 3 TB (MSRP $106.99); 4 TB (MSRP $119.99); 6TB (MSRP $179.99).

    For more information, read the Settlement Agreement.

  • Settlement payments were issued to eligible Settlement Class Members by mailed check in June 2022.

    For any Settlement payment checks that are uncashed or deemed undeliverable by the Settlement Administrator, those amounts shall remain in the Settlement Fund pending further order of the Court. Class Counsel shall make an application to the Court to seek approval for a proposed disposition of the unpaid funds from uncleared checks.

  • By doing nothing, you are staying in the Settlement Class but you will not receive any payment. You also will give up any right to sue Western Digital about the issues in this lawsuit. You will also be legally bound by all of the orders that the Court issues and judgments the Court makes in this class action.

  • The deadline to request exclusion from the Settlement Class passed on December 3, 2021.

  • The deadline to object to or comment on the Settlement passed on December 3, 2021.

  • If you are in the Settlement Class definition and did not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, the Settlement will be legally binding on you and you will be bound by all judgments entered in the case. In exchange for the Settlement benefits, you will release all claims against Western Digital and its affiliates listed in the Settlement Agreement about the issues in this lawsuit. The Settlement Agreement describes the claims you are releasing (giving up) by staying in the Settlement Class. 

  • Yes. The Court has appointed the following attorneys and law firms to represent the Settlement Class Members. Together, these lawyers are called “Settlement Class Counsel”:

    Yitzchak Kopel
    Bursor & Fisher, P.A.
    888 Seventh Avenue
    New York, NY 10019
    (646) 837-7150

    Daniel M. Hattis
    Hattis & Lukacs
    400 108th Avenue NE, Suite 500
    Bellevue, Washington 98004
    (425) 233-8650

    You do not have to pay Settlement Class Counsel for their time or expenses incurred in this case out of your pocket. Instead, Settlement Class Counsel will petition the Court for an award of their fees and expenses; any amount awarded will be paid from the Settlement Fund.

    The Court has also appointed Plaintiffs Nicholas Malone, Chris Ayers, James Backus, Brian Conway, David Eaton, Steven Gravel, James Raaymakers, and Tod Weitzel as class representatives to represent the Settlement Class.

  • Settlement Class Counsel (see Question 14) filed a motion on September 6, 2021, asking the Court to award them attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of litigation expenses up to one-third of the total $2.7 million Settlement Fund. The attorneys’ fees and expenses awarded by the Court will be the only payment to Settlement Class Counsel for their efforts in achieving the Settlement and for their risk in undertaking this representation on a wholly contingent basis. In addition, Settlement Class Counsel asked the Court on September 6, 2021, to award each of the Plaintiffs representing the Settlement Class a service award of $2,500 to compensate them for their efforts and commitment on behalf of the Settlement Class in this lawsuit.

    The Court will determine the amount of attorneys’ fees, expenses, and service awards to award. Settlement Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and service awards can be accessed here.

  • You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Settlement Class Counsel represents you and the other members of the Settlement Class already. However, you have the right to hire your own lawyer. If you want your own lawyer separate from Settlement Class Counsel, you will have to pay that lawyer.

  • The Court held a final approval hearing on December 22, 2021 at 2:00 p.m., Pacific, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Courthouse, Courtroom 5, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113. The Court issued the Final Order Approving Class Action Settlement on December 22, 2021.

  • The Court held a final approval hearing on December 22, 2021 at 2:00 p.m., Pacific, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Courthouse, Courtroom 5, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113.

  • You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.

  • More information can be found on this website. This website includes important case deadlines, links to case documents including the full Settlement Agreement and the Complaint in this lawsuit, and other information about the lawsuit and the Settlement. You can also get more information by calling 1-833-677-1089, or by contacting Class Counsel at info@bursor.com.

    You can also get additional information by accessing the Court docket in this case, for a fee, through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov, or by visiting the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Courthouse, 280 South 1st Street, 2nd Floor, San Jose, CA 95113, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays. Please note, however, that physical access to the office of the Clerk of the Court may be limited or prohibited at times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check the Court’s website, https://www.cand.uscourts.gov, for updates. 

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail
Malone v. Western Digital Corporation
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 11007
Seattle, WA 98111