Consumers Present $2.7M Settlement for Preliminary Approval in Western Digital Hard Drive False Advertising Case

Late last week, the plaintiffs party to an action against Western Digital Corporation requested that the Northern District of California court accept the deal reached between the litigants. If approved, the settlement would set up a common fund to pay claims for those who purchased the allegedly worse-than-advertised hard drives. Notice costs, class representative incentive awards, and reasonable attorney’s fees would also be taken from the $2.7 million figure, the motion explained.

As alleged in the June 2020 first amended complaint, filed one month after the original pleading, the plaintiffs contend that Western Digital falsely advertised its WD Red NAS hard drives as designed for and suitable for use in NAS (Network Attached Storage) and Redundant Array of Independent Disk (RAID) devices. The filing argued that the hard drives are not suitable for that intended use. Instead, they purportedly put customer data at greater risk of loss or destruction because the products utilize an inappropriate recording technology rather than the industry-standard technology.

The parties engaged in some discovery before participating in a full-day mediation, and subsequently, 10 weeks of negotiation culminating in the instant settlement. According to the filing, class members can receive between $4.00 and $7.00 cash award for each hard drive they purchased during the class period, subject to a maximum pro rata adjustment of 85% of the product’s retail purchase price. The motion stated that class members need not have proof of purchase in order to submit a claim.

The plaintiffs also claimed the settlement also sets forth “significant injunctive relief.” After the settlement takes effect, Western Digital must conspicuously disclose the technology it uses on product packaging and on its web pages. The transparency measures will reportedly bind Western Digital for four years.

In its argument to the court, the plaintiffs touted the settlement as “an excellent result” for class members. The motion asserted that the plaintiffs pursued the case vigorously and engaged in arms-length negotiations. Moreover, the consumers contended that the settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable given the strength of their case and the risk of further litigation.

The consumers are represented by Bursor & Fisher P.A. and Hattis & Lukacs. Western Digital is represented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP.

The same firms that represent Western Digital in the present lawsuit also represent the company in another consumer suit, again over the false advertising of other hard drive products. That case was recently dismissed, but the plaintiff, also represented by Bursor & Fisher, has until June 22 to file an amended pleading.