Palm to Settle m500 Series SUDS Suit
Palm Inc has proposed to settle a class action law suit against the company that arose out of the m500 series SUDS problems. Long time PIC readers will remember SUDS, the Sudden USB Death Syndrome that caused many m500 series models, especially the m505, to stop USB hotsyncing.
A proposed settlement has been reached in the lawsuit, Eley v. Palm Inc. The court documents reads plaintiff (Eley) claimed that:
(1) the Palm Handhelds (m500 & m505 handhelds) may be defective in
that they sometimes do not properly perform the HotSync operation to
transfer data to and from a primary computer, as a result of an event
involving electro-static discharge ("ESD"); and
(2) Palm purportedly communicated and/or failed to communicate and disclose certain facts and circumstances in connection therewith.
A hearing to consider the settlement will be held on December 22, 2003 at 1:30 p.m., before Judge Richard A. Kramer, Department 304 of the Superior Court of the State of California, San Francisco County.
On January 23, 2002, plaintiff Clifford E. Eley commenced an action against Palm entitled Eley. v. Palm, Inc., (San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 403768) (the "Action"), which was brought as a purported nationwide class action and which asserted claims for violation of the Unfair Competition Law, California Business and Professions Code sections 17200 and 17500 et seq., and breach of express warranty. Palm denies the allegations made in the plaintiff's complaint and denies any and all liability with respect to the facts alleged therein, and denies that anyone has suffered damage or is entitled to any relief whatsoever. The Court has not decided whether plaintiff or Palm is correct.
The proposed settlement continues to do what Palm had been doing all along, after much pressure at the time, to resolve the issue. Palm had been replacing cradles, replacing handhelds on a case by case basis and towards the end of the issue sent out a special SD card which attempted to alleviate the problem. The full settlement remedies include:
(a) Claim Relief 1: Palm will exchange for any Settlement Class Member who so requests pursuant to the terms of the claim form a replacement (new or refurbished) USB cradle for the Settlement Class Member's original cradle. Such exchange will be at Palm's expense, including shipping.
(b) Claim Relief 2: For any Settlement Class Member who follows the steps set forth under Claim Relief 1, and who is not satisfied because his or its Palm Handheld continues to cease to perform the HotSync operation as a result of ESD, to be validated by Palm, and who requests pursuant to the terms of the claim form, Palm will provide and ship to such Settlement Class Member, at Palm's own expense, a preprogrammed (new or refurbished) SD card (including instructions) to reset the Palm Handheld.
(c) Claim Relief 3 : For any Settlement Class Member who follows the steps set forth under Claim Relief 1 and Claim Relief 2 above, and who is not satisfied because his or its Palm Handheld continues to cease to perform the HotSyncŪ operation as a result of ESD, to be validated by Palm, and who requests pursuant to the terms of the claim form, Palm will provide and ship to such Settlement Class Member, at Palm's own expense, a replacement (new or refurbished) Palm Handheld viewer of the same model type. To qualify for this relief, the Settlement Class Member must exchange and return the Palm Handheld viewer and SD card as to which the Settlement Class Member was not satisfied.
If the settlement is accepted at the hearing the suit will be dismissed in its entirety against Palm Inc, including the claims of the Settlement Class Members, with prejudice, which dismissal will be incorporated into a final judgment approving the settlement. All Settlement Class Members who have not excluded themselves will be bound by the final judgment entered by the Court. More information about the suit and the full legal docs can be found here.
More on SUDS
SUDS was a major topic that dominated much of the news and discussions about the m500 series toward the middle of the models life cycle. The acronym was used to describe a fault many owners experienced, where the model simply stopped syncing over USB. It was later determined to be a combination of causes including the USB component and static charges entering the handheld. To learn more about SUDS check out the PIC archives or search for articles on SUDS.
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