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

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • 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.

  • If the Settlement is approved and becomes final, 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.

  • Class Members must file a claim by November 27, 2021, to receive a payment. Click here to file a claim.

  • File Online: To file a claim online, click here.

    File By Mail: If you prefer, you can also print a paper claim form, fill it out, and mail it to the address listed on the form. Or, if you received a Settlement notice by mail you can fill out the claim form that is attached to that notice, fill it out, and mail it to the address listed on the form.

    Your claim must be received online or postmarked by mail by November 27, 2021. The Settlement Administrator will review all claims and determine eligibility.

  • 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 will be issued to eligible Settlement Class Members by mailed check after the Settlement is approved and becomes final.

    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.

  • If you are a Settlement Class Member, to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must mail a written request for exclusion to:

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

    To be effective, your request for exclusion must be postmarked no later than December 3, 2021, and must include the following information:

    Requests for exclusion must be specific to individual Settlement Class Members, and Settlement Class Members cannot request exclusion as a class or group.

    • (a) your full name, telephone number, mailing address, and email address;
    • (b) a clear statement that you wish to be excluded from the Settlement Class;
    • (c) the name of this lawsuit: “Malone v. Western Digital Corporation”; and
    • (d) your signature or the signature of an individual authorized to act on your behalf.
  • If you are a Settlement Class Member, and have not excluded yourself from the Settlement Class, you can comment on or object to the Settlement, Settlement Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses, and/or the request for service awards for the Plaintiffs who brought this lawsuit. To object or comment, you must send a written objection/comment including the following:

    • (a) the name of this lawsuit: “Malone v. Western Digital Corporation”;
    • (b) your full name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address;
    • (c) your signature or the signature of an individual authorized to act on your behalf;
    • (d) a description of the specific reasons for your objection;
    • (e) the name, address, bar number, and telephone number of your attorney if you are represented by an attorney;
    • (f) if you have an attorney assisting you with your objection or have objected to any class action in the previous 5 years, then you must identify your attorney and/or include a list of the cases in which you have previously objected by identifying each case by its caption or title; and
    • (g) a statement about whether or not you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing either in person or through an attorney.

     

    To be considered by the Court, your comment or objection must be sent to the Claims Administrator and must be postmarked no later than December 3, 2021, at the following address:

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

    Note that you can ask the Court to deny approval of the settlement by filing an objection, but you can’t ask the Court to order a different settlement; the Court can only approve or reject the settlement as agreed to by the Parties. If the Court denies approval, no settlement payments will be sent out and the lawsuit will continue. If that is what you want to happen, you must object. You have the right to consult with your own attorney, at your own expense, before deciding how best to proceed.

  • If you are in the Settlement Class definition and do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, and the Settlement is approved and becomes final, 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) will file a motion on or before 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 will ask the Court on or before 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 will be available on this website when it is filed.

  • 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 will hold 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 hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice and/or may be held remotely or telephonically. Please check this website for updates or changes.

    At the final approval hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement should be approved as fair, reasonable and adequate. The Court will also consider Settlement Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and service awards. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. At the hearing or some time thereafter, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

  • No. Class Counsel will answer questions the Court may have. But, you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you submit an objection, you do not have to come to the Court to talk about it. So long as you submitted your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.

  • 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