Ziccarello v Sanyo Energy (U.S.A.) Corp.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you do not find an answer to your question below, please call 1-844-702-2787.

Questions

Answers

1. Why is there a website?

This website is to let you know about a proposed Settlement in a class action lawsuit that may affect your rights, including your right to file a claim, object to, or exclude yourself from the Settlement, before the Court decides whether to approve it. This website explains the lawsuits, the Settlement, and your legal rights.

Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey is overseeing the case. The case is called Ziccarello v. Sanyo Energy (U.S.A.) Corp., et al., No. 19-CV-16623.

The people who sued are called the “Plaintiffs.” Sanyo Energy (U.S.A.) Corporation, Sanyo North America Corporation, and Panasonic Corporation of North America, the companies who were sued, are called the “Defendants.”

Information about the Settlement is summarized in this website. More detail is provided in the Settlement Agreement, available in the Documents section of this website.

Back to top

2. What is this lawsuit about?

This lawsuit claims that Sanyo-brand solar panels in the BA3 Model Series and similarly designed model series (including the HIP-xxxBA2 and HIP-xxxBA5 model series) “delaminate” over time, meaning that the laminated parts of the solar panel separate from each other, and could cause power loss in some situations. The plaintiff claims that delamination could decrease the amount of power generated from a panel in some situations.  

The Plaintiff also claims that the Defendants did not correctly apply a limited warranty for these “delaminated” solar panels, which is supposed to provide a refund, repair, or replace solar panels if their power output falls below specific levels in certain conditions (“Power Warranty”). The Plaintiff also claims that the Defendants did not take electrical measurements of the power output of Sanyo-brand solar panels after Defendants received these Power Warranty claims.

Defendants deny these claims. The Court has not decided who is right. The Court has not found any of the Defendants liable for any of Plaintiff’s claims.

Back to top

3. What Solar Panels are included in this Settlement?

The solar panels included in the Settlement are Sanyo-brand solar panels in the HIP-xxxBA2, HIP-xxxBA3, and HIP-xxxBA5 model series that were originally sold for residential use in the United States (“Sanyo Settlement Panels”).


 Examples of solar panels in the HIP-xxxBA2 model series include model numbers HIP-J54BA2 and HIP-190BA2.  Examples of solar panels in the HIP-xxxBA3 model series include model numbers HIP-180BA3, HIP-186BA3, HIP-190BA3, HIP-195BA3, HIP-200BA3, and HIP-205BA3.  Examples of solar panels in the HIP-xxxBA5 model series include model numbers HIP-180BA5, HIP-186BA5, HIP-190BA5, HIP-195BA5, HIP-200BA5, and HIP-205BA5.

The Sanyo Settlement Panels were manufactured and marketed by Sanyo Energy from approximately 2001 to 2010.

Back to top

4. Why is this a class action?

In a class action, one or more people or businesses called “class representatives” sue on behalf of a group of others with similar claims (called a “class”). All of these people together are “class members.” In this case, the Class Representative is Richard Ziccarello.

If the Court decides that a lawsuit should proceed as a class action, everyone’s claims can be combined into a single court proceeding, which is more efficient than having many separate lawsuits about similar claims. In a class action, one Court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those individuals who exclude themselves from the class (see FAQ 21).

Back to top

5. Why is there a settlement?

The Court has not decided in favor of the Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, both sides have agreed to a Settlement. By agreeing to the Settlement, they avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and Settlement Class Members receive the benefits described on this website. The proposed Settlement does not mean that any law was broken or that the Defendants did anything wrong. The parties believe that the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and will provide substantial benefit to the Settlement Class.

Back to top

6. How do I know if I'm included in the Settlement?

If you received a mailed notice of the Settlement, then you are believed to be a Settlement Class Member. But even if you did not receive a notice by mail, you may be a Settlement Class Member.

You are included in the Settlement Class if you are one of the following:

  1. Original Purchaser: A person or entity in the United States who purchased and installed Sanyo Settlement Panels for residential use (see FAQ 3).

  2. Subsequent Title Holder: A person who purchased a private residence, building, or ground mounted Sanyo solar system in the United States on which Sanyo Settlement Panels were originally installed for residential use.

Back to top

7. Are there any exceptions to being included?

The Settlement does not include:

  • Any person who excludes themselves from the Class (see FAQ 21);
  • Defendants, any entity in which any Defendant has a controlling interest, and Defendants’ legal representatives, heirs, and successors;
  • Settlement Class Counsel and any member of Settlement Class Counsel’s immediate family; and
  • Any judge to whom any aspect of this case is assigned and any member of that judge’s immediate family.

Back to top

8. What if I'm still not sure if I'm included?

If you are not sure whether you are a Settlement Class Member after carefully reading this website, please call the toll free number, 1-844-702-2787, for more information. You can also read the Settlement Agreement under the Documents section of this website, which has more details about the Settlement.

Back to top

9. What does the Settlement Provide?

If the Settlement is approved and becomes final, Settlement Class Members with qualifying solar panels may receive a replacement panel or cash payment for each qualifying panel after submitting a claim form and supporting documents (see FAQ 10?), notice costs, administration costs, attorneys’ fees and costs.

This procedure to submit and resolve settlement claims will replace the current procedure to submit and resolve claims regarding “delamination” under the 20-year Sanyo limited power output warranty.

The Settlement also provides updated instructions for submitting future warranty claims about Sanyo Settlement Panels that are unrelated to qualifying damage. The Settlement Agreement, available under the Documents section of this website, has more information.

Back to top

10. What can I get from the Settlement?

If you are a Settlement Class Member and the Claims Administrator decides that you meet the requirements described in FAQ 14, you may get one of the following benefits. Defendants will choose which benefit you receive.

  1. Replacement Panels: You will be sent a new or refurbished solar panel to replace each qualifying Sanyo Settlement Panel. Replacement panels provided as part of this Settlement may be different in size, color, shape, model number, manufacturer, and/or power level from your qualifying Sanyo Settlement Panels, and from other replacement panels that Defendants provide. However, all replacement panels will generate the level of power output guaranteed under the applicable Sanyo 20-year limited power output warranty.
  2. Payment: You will get a payment equal to the original purchase price of each qualifying Sanyo Settlement Panel, after reducing for depreciation. Depreciation will take into consideration the original purchase price, the time that has elapsed since purchase, and the amount of time left in your Power Warranty period of twenty (20) years.

    For example, a payment for a qualifying panel purchased 10 years ago at a purchase price of $700, would be $350, or half the original purchase price.

    For the purposes of this calculation, a partial year of less than six months is not counted for depreciation purposes; and a partial year of 6 months or more is counted as a full year for depreciation purposes. For example, if a qualifying panel was purchased nine years and five months before the claim was submitted, the payment would be reduced for nine years. However, if a qualifying panel was purchased nine years and six months before the claim was submitted, the payment would be reduced for 10 years.

    If you cannot provide the original purchase price of your qualifying panels, then your payment will be the based on the value of a panel with an original purchase price of $700.

Back to top

11. If I get the replacement panel is my warranty or the claims period for delamination extended?

No. If your Sanyo Settlement Panel is replaced, the warranty and claims period that applied to the original Sanyo Settlement Panel will not change. This means that even if you receive a replacement solar panel, no new warranty coverage period will apply, and your warranty period will not be extended. Coverage for “delamination”-related issues will only be available through the Settlement claim process. Claims can only be submitted until the earlier of: 20 years from the date the original, replaced Sanyo Settlement Panel was purchased or December 31, 2029.

Back to top

12. Does the Settlement cover expenses related to collecting evidence for my claim or installing the replacement panels?

No. The Settlement does not cover any expenses related to: (a) collecting evidence to show that your Sanyo Settlement Panels have Qualifying Damage or (b) replacement panel removal, transportation, reinstallation, or related fees.

Back to top

13. Can I get both replacement panel and a payment?

No. You may only get one benefit. The Defendants will choose which benefit you receive.

Back to top

14. Who can file a claim for benefits?

If you are a Settlement Class Member and the Settlement is approved by the Court you may be able to receive a replacement panel or payment, described in FAQ 10, as long as you meet all of the following requirements:

  1. You own Sanyo Settlement Panels for which the 20-year Power Warranty has not expired. This means that it has been less than 20 years since the date your Sanyo Settlement Panels were originally purchased. If you are a Subsequent Title Holder, less than 20 years must have elapsed since the Sanyo Solar Panels were purchased by their original owner;

  2. One or more of your Sanyo Settlement Panels shows clear visible evidence of “Qualifying Damage” (see FAQ 16);

  3. You fill out and submit a Claim Form, along with photographs of your Sanyo Settlement Panels with Qualifying Damage and proof that you own the Sanyo Settlement Panels, before the deadline (see FAQ 19). The deadline is the earlier of: 20 years of the date your panels were originally purchased or December 31, 2029;

  4. You or anyone else (including the previous owners) have not already received compensation or another warranty or settlement remedy from the Defendants for the Sanyo Settlement Panels in your claim;

  5. None of the warranty exclusions that apply to the 20-year Power Warranty apply to the Sanyo Settlement Panels in your claim. For example, if a panel was broken by a falling rock or other debris before you submitted your claim, that panel would be excluded; and

  6. You provide additional photographs, when requested, of the label (including the manufacturer, model number, and serial number) and full backside of each panel, to confirm that the panel is a Sanyo Settlement Panel.

Back to top

15. What if I cannot provide the original purchase date for my Sanyo Settlement Panels?

If you do not know the actual original purchase date for your Sanyo Settlement Panels, the original purchase date will be treated as exactly 3 months after the date the panels were manufactured. You can find the manufacturing date of your Sanyo Settlement Panels on the label on the back of each panel. This means that the 20-year Power Warranty Period will be treated as expiring exactly 20 years and 3 months after the date on the label, unless you know the actual original purchase date.

Back to top

16. What is Qualifying damage?

You will only be able to get a replacement panel or payment if the Claims Administrator can tell from looking at the photos you send in that a Sanyo Settlement Panel has:

  • One or more contiguous (or adjacent) sections of circular delamination,
  • Each section has a diameter of 25 millimeters or greater, and
  • It was not caused by external damage.

If your Sanyo Settlement Panel matches all of these requirements, it has “Qualifying Damage.”

Some examples of panels with Qualifying Damage can be found in the Documents section of this website.

Qualifying Damage does not include:

  • Circular delamination with a diameter less than 25 millimeters
  • Linear delamination
  • Dot delamination, or
  • Any delamination caused by external damage.

Some examples of panels without Qualifying Damages can be found in the Documents section of this website.

Back to top

17. When will I get my replacement panel or payment?

The Claims Administrator will start accepting claims only after the Court grants final approval to the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved (see FAQ 27). If there are appeals, resolving them can take time.

After you submit a claim, the Claims Administrator will decide whether you qualify to get a replacement panel  or payment as soon as possible. How long this decision takes will depend on a number of things, such as how many other people sent in claims before you and how many panels are part of your claim. Once the Claims Administrator makes a decision, you and the Defendants will also be allowed to object to the Claims Administrator’s decision if you believe it was wrong. If any of your panels are found to qualify after the Claims Administrator deals with any objections, you will receive a replacement panel or payment for each qualifying panel. Please be patient.

Back to top

18. What am I giving up if I stay in the Settlement Class?

If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you will give up your right to sue any of the Defendants on your own for the claims that this Settlement resolves. You will be bound by the Settlement and by all Court proceedings, orders, and judgments in this lawsuit. Unless you exclude yourself, all of the decisions by the Court will bind you. The Settlement Agreement is available under the Documents section of this website and describes the released claims that you give up if you remain in the Settlement.

Back to top

19. How do I file a claim for a replacement panel or payment?

If the Settlement is approved by the court after the Final Approval Hearing (see FAQs 28-30), you will be able to submit a claim for a replacement panel or payment. To find out whether the court granted approval and claims are being accepted, you can visit this website, or call toll-free 1-844-702-2787.

You will need to submit a completed Claim Form, photographs, and proof of ownership of your Sanyo Settlement Panels to get either a replacement panel or payment.

Once claims are being accepted, you will be able to download a copy of the Claim Form from this website. You can also find out more information about how to file a claim by calling toll-free, 1-844-702-2787. Please read the instructions carefully when you fill out the Claim Form. The Claim Form explains what photographs and proof of ownership need to be submitted. If you choose to submit your Claim Form, photographs, and proof of ownership by mail, you must mail them postmarked by the deadline (described below) to:

Ziccarello v Sanyo Energy (U.S.A.) Corp. Claims
Class Litigation Administration Support Services
43141 Business Center Parkway
Suite #200
Lancaster, California 93535

You must submit your Claim Form, photographs, and proof of ownership by the earlier of: 20 years of the original purchase date of your Sanyo Settlement Panels or December 31, 2029. If this period has already expired, you are not eligible to submit a claim.

Filling out a claim under the Settlement will replace the current procedure for warranty claims about “delamination” submitted under the 20-year Power Warranty.

Submitting a Claim Form does not automatically mean that you will receive a replacement panel or payment. If you submit a Claim Form, your claim will be evaluated by the Claims Administrator. The Claims Administrator will look at the information and photographs that you submit, and decide if you should get benefits.

Back to top

20. What if I don't want to be part of the Settlement?

If you are a Settlement Class member and you want to keep your right to sue any of the Defendants about the claims in this lawsuit, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement Class. This is called excluding yourself – or it is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class. You will not be able to submit a Claim Form or receive benefits from the Settlement if you exclude yourself.

Back to top

21. How do I exclude myself from the Settlement Class?

If you wish to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must send a letter that includes the following information:

  • Your name, current address, and telephone number, and, if you are being assisted by your own lawyer, your lawyer’s name, address, and telephone number;
  • The total number of Sanyo Settlement Panels you own;
  • A statement saying that you want to be excluded from the Settlement Class and do not wish to participate in the Settlement in Ziccarello v. Sanyo Energy (U.S.A.) Corp., No. 19-CV-16623; and
  • Your signature, and, if you are being assisted by your own lawyer, your lawyer’s signature.

You must mail this letter, postmarked no later than May 28, 2021 to:

Sanyo Settlement Exclusions
Birka-White Law Offices
178 E. Prospect Ave 
Danville, CA 94526 

Back to top

22. If I do not exclude myself, can I sue the Defendants for the same thing later?

No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue the Defendants for the claims that this Settlement resolves.

Back to top

23. If I exclude myself, can I still get benefits?

No. You will not get benefits if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.

Back to top

24. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

The Court has appointed Birka-White Law Offices, 178 E. Prospect Ave, Danville, CA 94526, and Levin Sedran & Berman LLP, 510 Walnut Street, Ste. 500, Philadelphia, PA 19106, to represent you and the other Settlement Class Members in this lawsuit as “Settlement Class Counsel.” You will not be charged for contacting these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, and/or have that lawyer appear in court for you in this lawsuit, you may hire one at your own expense.

Back to top

25. How will the Lawyers be paid?

As part of this Settlement, the parties have negotiated a payment of $1.745 million to Settlement Class Counsel for attorney’s fees and expenses. This payment will be made by Defendants. You will not have to pay anything to Settlement Class Counsel. The costs to administer the Settlement, including paying the Claims Administrator, will also be paid by Defendants. Attorneys’ fees, like all of the terms of the Settlement, are subject to Court approval.

A motion for final approval of the settlement, including payment of attorneys’ fees, will be filed on or before June 11, 2021. This motion will be posted and available for review on this website.

Back to top

26. How can I tell the Court if I do not like the Settlement?

You have the right to tell the Court that you do not agree with the Settlement or any or all of its terms.

You can submit a written objection to the Settlement if you do not like some or all of it. The Court will consider your views. You can ask the Court to deny approval of the Settlement by filing an objection. You cannot ask the Court to change the terms of the Settlement; the Court can only approve or deny the Settlement. If the Court denies approval, the procedures and benefits described in FAQs 9-19 will not be available to you, and the lawsuit will continue. If that is what you want to happen, you must object.

If you wish to object to the Settlement, you must do so in writing. Your written objection must include the following information:

  • Your name, address, telephone number, and, if you are being assisted by your own lawyer, your lawyer’s name, address, and telephone number;
  • The case name and number (Ziccarello v. Sanyo Energy (U.S.A.) Corp., No. 19-CV-16623);
  • The total number of Sanyo Settlement Panels you own;
  • Proof that you own at least one Sanyo Settlement Panel, such as a serial number, a photograph of the label on the back of a panel (including the manufacturer, model number, and serial number), or some other documentation of ownership;
  • A clear explanation of your reasons for objecting to the Settlement;
  • Whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing before the court;
  • Your signature, and, if you are being assisted by your own lawyer, your lawyer’s signature.

The objection must be submitted to the Court by either mailing it to the address below, or by filing it in person at any location of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and by mailing it to the other two addresses listed here:



COURT


SETTLEMENT CLASS COUNSEL

DEFENSE COUNSEL
United States District Clerk
United States District Court
for the District of New Jersey
Martin Luther King Building
& U.S. Courthouse
50 Walnut Street
Newark, NJ 07102
David Birka-White
Birka-White Law Offices
178 E. Prospect Ave
Danville, CA 94526
H. David Leslie
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
767 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10153

Your objection must be filed with the Court or postmarked on or before May 28, 2021.

Back to top

27. What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you don’t exclude yourself from the Settlement Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

Back to top

28. When and Where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing to decide whether to finally approve the Settlement on July 8, 2021, either in-person at the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Courtroom 4D, 50 Walnut Street, Newark, NJ 07101, or via a videoconference platform such as Zoom.  The Court has not yet decided whether the hearing will be held in-person or via videoconference.  The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so you should check this website for current information.

At the Final Approval Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are any objections or comments, the Court will consider them at this time. The Court may also decide whether to award attorneys’ fees and expenses. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

Back to top

29. Do I have to come to the hearing?

No. You do not have to come to the Final Approval Hearing. Settlement Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you file an objection or comment, you do not need to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you filed your written objection on time and included the information described in FAQ 26, the Court will consider your objection. You may also pay another lawyer attend the Final Approval Hearing on your behalf, at your own expense, but it is not required.

Back to top

30. May I speak at the hearing?

Yes, if you choose to attend the Final Approval Hearing, you may ask the Court for permission to speak. To do so, you must file a written “Notice of Intent to Appear in Ziccarello v. Sanyo Energy (U.S.A.) Corp., No. 19-CV-16623.” Your Notice of Intent to Appear must be submitted to the Court either by mailing it to the address in FAQ 26, or by filing it in person at any location of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, no later than May 28, 2021.

Back to top

31. What if I do nothing?

If you are a Settlement Class Member and do nothing, you will be bound by the Court’s decisions, including the Settlement’s release and waiver of claims you may have against Defendants related to the claims made in the lawsuit. If you have a panel with Qualifying Damage and wish to receive a replacement panel or payment, you must complete and submit a claim (see FAQs 9-19).

Back to top

32. Where can I get more information?

This website summarizes the Settlement. For the specific terms and conditions of the Settlement, please read the text of the Settlement Agreement, which is posted under the Documents section of this website. For information about how to obtain a copy of the Settlement Agreement, you can also:

  • Call : 1-844-702-2787
  • Write to:  Sanyo Solar Panel Settlement
                            c/o Notice Administrator
                            PO Box 129
                            Warminster, PA 18974-0129

The Settlement Agreement and other documents from this case can also be accessed on the Court docket through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system online at https://ecf.njd.uscourts.gov.

PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE

Back to top

This website is authorized by the Court, supervised by counsel and controlled by Claims Administrator approved by the Court. This is the only authorized website for this case.

For more information please call 1-844-702-2787

Documents

Please read for a full explanation of the settlement and your options and all applicable timelines.

Important Dates

  • Exclusion Deadline

    Friday, May 28, 2021
    You must complete and mail your request for exclusion so that it is postmarked no later than Friday, May 28, 2021.
  • Objection Deadline

    Friday, May 28, 2021
    You must mail your objection(s) and/or notice of intent to appear at the Final Approval Hearing so that it/they are postmarked no later than Friday, May 28, 2021.
  • Final Approval Hearing Date

    Thursday, July 8, 2021
    The Final Approval Hearing is scheduled for Thursday, July 8, 2021. Please check this website for updates.

Having Trouble?

Having trouble opening .pdf files? You can download Acrobat Reader  for free from www.adobe.com.

Copyright © 2021 Kroll Settlement Administration LLC - All Rights Reserved. This site designed and developed by Kroll Settlement Administration LLC - Privacy Policy