Federal Court Preliminarily Approves Nationwide Class Action Settlement Covering Defective Trane & American Standard Air Conditioners

On April 9, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted preliminary approval of a proposed nationwide settlement related to an alleged defect in nearly half a million Trane and American Standard air conditioners sold between 2014 and 2017.  The plaintiffs allege that the air conditioners were manufactured with an unapproved rust inhibitor in the compressor that causes a sticky debris to form on a valve commonly called the TXV that controls the cooling process.  The debris can cause a loss of performance and sometimes a complete failure.  Further, the plaintiffs allege that when failures occurred Trane instructed service personnel to inject a highly-acidic additive to dissolve the clogs, but that the full-strength additive is known to cause damage to the compressor.

Subject to final approval, the proposed settlement will provide substantial relief to the owners of the affected units, including:

  • Cash reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs incurred to repair or replace stuck valves, up to a total of $825;
  • A free low-acidity additive, called “MJ-X Light,” which has been shown to safely prevent rust inhibitor build-up, and up to $50 in labor reimbursement for a qualified person to inject it; and
  • Enhanced and extended compressor warranty coverage for air conditioners and heat pumps that were previously injected with the full-strength version of the additive on or before September 30, 2018.

Additional information about the settlement, including instructions on how to make a claim, will be posted on the Settlement Website, www.airconditionersettlement.com, by April 19, 2020.

The deadline to file claims for reimbursement is September 25, 2020, and the preventative injection program will run through August 2021.  A final approval hearing has been scheduled for August 12, 2020.

The plaintiffs and class members are represented by Timothy Mathews and Zachary Beatty of the Chimicles firm, along with their co-counsel, James Shah, of Shepherd Finkelman Miller & Shah LLP.  The case is Livingston v. Trane U.S. Inc., No. 2:17-cv-06480-ES-MAH (D.N.J.).