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Case 2:05-cv-00186-UA-DNF Document 60 Filed 12/22/05 Page 1 of 14 PageID 348

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

FT. MYERS DIVISION

WILLIAM F. TUNER, on behalf of
himself and all others similarly
situated,

vs.

Plaintiffs,

Case No. 2:05-cv-186-FtM-33DNF

GENERAL ELECTRIC CO.,

______________________________________/

Defendant.

ORDER PRELIMINARILY APPROVING SETTLEMENT, CONDITIONALLY
CERTIFYING SETTLEMENT CLASS, APPOINTING SETTLEMENT CLASS

COUNSEL AND SETTLEMENT CLASS REPRESENTATIVE, APPROVING FORM OF

CLASS NOTICE AND SCHEDULING FAIRNESS HEARING

On this 22nd day of December, 2005, the Court considered
Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement,
Conditional Certification of Settlement Class, Appointment of
Settlement Class Counsel and Settlement Class Representative,
Approval of Class Notice and Scheduling of Fairness Hearing (Doc.
# 54) which was filed on December 12, 2005.

Plaintiff and Defendant General Electric Company (“GE”) have
entered into a Settlement Agreement, attached to Plaintiff’s
Motion (Doc. # 54), as Exhibit A, incorporated herein by
reference, which settles and resolves all of Plaintiff’s and
Settlement Class Members’ claims against GE in this Action.
After consideration of same, the Court finds as follows:

Case 2:05-cv-00186-UA-DNF Document 60 Filed 12/22/05 Page 2 of 14 PageID 349

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED ADJUDGED AND DECREED as follows:
1.

This Court finds that the Settlement Class as proposed
in the Settlement Agreement meets all of the requirements for
certification of a settlement class under Rule 23 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Accordingly, the Court conditionally
certifies the following Settlement Class:

All Persons in the fifty United States and
District of Columbia who, as of the Notice
Date, purchased, owned and/or currently own a
Refrigerator.1 Excluded from the Settlement
Class are: (1) GE and any entity in which GE
has a controlling interest or which has a
controlling interest in GE, and the legal
representatives, assigns and successors of
GE; (2) the Judge to whom this case is
assigned and any member of the Judge’s
immediate family; and (3) all Persons who, in
accordance with the terms of the Settlement
Agreement, properly execute and timely file a
Request for Exclusion with the Claims
Administrator under Section 8 of the
Settlement Agreement.

Any certification of a preliminary or final Settlement Class
under this Order is for settlement purposes only and shall not
constitute, nor be construed as, evidence and/or an admission on
the part of GE that this Action, or any other proposed or
certified class action is appropriate for class treatment
pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or any similar

1 “Refrigerator” is a defined term in the Settlement Agreement. The
Refrigerators included within this Settlement are listed by model
and serial number on Exhibit A to the Settlement Agreement (Doc. #
53).

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class action statute or rule. Entry of this Order is without
prejudice to the rights of GE to: (a) oppose certification in
this Action, should the Settlement not be approved or implemented
for any reason (including, but not limited to, termination or the
exercise of withdrawal rights by GE); (b) oppose class
certification in any other proposed or certified class action;
(c) use the certification of a Class in the Action to oppose
certification of any other proposed or existing class relating to
or purporting to assert any Settled Claim(s); or (d) terminate
the Settlement Agreement as provided therein.

2. For purposes of the Settlement, the Court provisionally
finds that Plaintiff is designated as Settlement Class
Representative and is found to be an adequate representative.
Counsel for the Settlement Class, Scott Wm. Weinstein, Weinstein,
Bavly & Moon, P.A., 2400 First Street, Suite 303, Ft. Myers, FL
33901, Gary E. Mason, The Mason Law Firm, P.C., 1225 19th
Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20038, Alexander E.
Barnett, The Mason Law Firm, P.C., P.O. Box 230758, New York, NY
10023, Jonathan W. Cuneo and Charles J. LaDuca, Cuneo Gilbert &
LaDuca, L.L.P., 317 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Suite 300,
Washington, D.C. 20002, and William M. Audet, Alexander Hawes &
Audet, L.L.P., 221 Main Street, Suite 1460, San Francisco, CA
94105 are found to be experienced and skilled attorneys capable

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Case 2:05-cv-00186-UA-DNF Document 60 Filed 12/22/05 Page 4 of 14 PageID 351

of adequately representing the Settlement Class and are approved
as Settlement Class Counsel.

3. The Court has reviewed the Settlement Agreement and
preliminarily approves the Settlement and finds the Settlement
reasonable, adequate, just, and fair, and further finds that
Notice to members of the Settlement Class is warranted followed
by a full hearing at which final approval of the Settlement will
be considered.

4. For the purposes stated and defined in the Settlement
Agreement, the Court hereby sets the following dates and
deadlines:

“Notice Date” (date by which
dissemination of Notice must have
begun)

“Opt-Out Deadline” (deadline for
post-marking and serving Request for
Exclusion)

“Objection Date” (deadline for

post-marking, filing and serving
written objections)

“Claim Deadline for Additional
Warranty Protection” (deadline for
post-marking and mailing Claims for
Additional Warranty Protection)

“Claim Deadline for Refrigerator
Exchange” (deadline for post-marking
and mailing Claims for Refrigerator
Exchange)

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=

=

=

=

=

January 13,

2006

60 days from
Notice Date March
14, 2006

60 days from
Notice Date March
14, 2006

90 days from
Notice Date April
13, 2006

1 year from
Notice Date January
12, 2007 (NOTE:
persons with an
existing service
contract who have

Case 2:05-cv-00186-UA-DNF Document 60 Filed 12/22/05 Page 5 of 14 PageID 352

timely made a valid
Claim for
Additional Warranty
Protection, have
one year from the
service contract’s
expiration date)
90 days from
Notice Date April
13, 2006

“Claim Deadline for

Reimbursement” (deadline for post-
marking and mailing Claims for
Reimbursement)

=

5. The Court reserves the right to amend the forms and
notices approved by this Order as may be required to be
consistent with the Settlement and any subsequent orders that the
Court may enter in connection with the Notice, Opt-Out, and
Objection procedures, Claims Administration, or other matters
related to the Settlement.

6. Non-substantive changes and changes necessary to
correct any inconsistency between the approved forms and the
Settlement Agreement may be made by the mutual agreement of
Settlement Class Counsel and GE’s Counsel.

7. The parties have proposed a plan for giving Notice to
the Settlement Class of the Settlement. Notice shall be
disseminated by direct mail to all Settlement Class Members for
whom street addresses can be obtained with reasonable effort.
Notice shall also be disseminated by publication on the Internet
at the following web address: www.geappliances.com/classaction,

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and publication of Summary Notice in Parade, USA Weekend, People,
Better Homes & Gardens, and Reader’s Digest informing Settlement
Class Members that Notice may be obtained by calling 1-866-839-
4463, or by writing to GE at GE Moisture Class Settlement, 2670
Executive Drive, Suite A, Indianapolis, IN 46421.

8. The Notice shall advise Settlement Class Members of
their rights, including the right to opt-out and/or object to the
Settlement or its terms. The Notice shall provide that any
objection to the Settlement, and any papers submitted in support
of said objection, shall be considered by the Court at the
Fairness Hearing, only if, on or before the Objection Date, the
Person making objection shall file with the Clerk of the Court
notice of his or her intention to object. Any objection to the
Settlement must include:

(1) Sufficient proof to determine membership in the

Settlement Class;

(2) A statement of each objection asserted;
(3) A detailed description of the facts underlying each

objection;

(4) A detailed description of the legal authorities

supporting each objection;

(5) A statement of whether the objector intends to appear
and argue at the Fairness Hearing and, if so, how long
the objector anticipates needing to present the
objection;

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(6) A list of the exhibits which the objector may offer
during the Fairness Hearing, along with copies of such
exhibits.

Any Settlement Class Member who does not make and serve
their written objection in the manner prescribed in the Notice
will be deemed to have waived any objections. A copy of any
objection must also be mailed to Scott Wm. Weinstein, Weinstein,
Bavly & Moon, P.A., 2400 First Street, Suite 303, Ft. Myers, FL
33901 and Edward M. Waller, Jr. and Charles Wachter, Fowler White
Boggs Banker P.A., 501 East Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 1700, Tampa,
FL 33602, postmarked by midnight on the Objection Date.

9. The Court approves, as to both form and content, the
Claim Form (Exhibit C to the Settlement Agreement) and the Notice
Plan (the Notice Plan containing the Notice and Summary Notice is
Exhibit B to the Settlement Agreement), and finds that the Notice
meets the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and due process. The Court finds that the Notice is
the best notice practicable under the circumstances, and shall
constitute due and sufficient notice to all persons entitled
thereto, and complies fully with the requirements of the
Constitution of the United States, and any other applicable law.
Accordingly, on or before the Notice Date, Settlement Class
Counsel or their designees shall commence dissemination of Notice

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per the Notice Plan contained within Exhibit B to the Settlement
Agreement.

10. At or before the Fairness Hearing, Settlement Class
Counsel shall file with the Court a proof of publication of the
Summary Notice.

11. The Court hereby approves and adopts the procedures,
deadlines, forms, and manner governing all requests to be
excluded from the Settlement Class and to opt-out of the
Settlement Class as provided for in the Settlement Agreement.
Without limiting the generality of the foregoing: (a) any
Settlement Class Member who does not timely and validly request
exclusion from the Settlement Class shall be included in such
Settlement Class and shall be bound by all the terms of the
Settlement, if it is finally approved, whether or not such person
has objected to the Settlement or has made a Claim; (b)
Settlement Class Members who timely and validly elect to opt-out
shall be excluded from the Settlement and from the Settlement
Class, even if the Settlement is finally approved and the
Settlement Class is confirmed as a certified class; (c)
Settlement Class Members who request to be excluded from the
Settlement Class and to opt-out are required to submit to the
Claims Administrator a signed Request for Exclusion that states:
(1) the Settlement Class Member’s name, address, and telephone

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number; (2) the model number and serial number of the
Refrigerator which the Settlement Class Member purchased, owns
and/or owned; and (3) a statement that the Settlement Class
Member wishes to be excluded from the Settlement Class; (d)
Settlement Class Members who elect to opt-out must exercise the
opt-out right by mailing the written and signed Request for
Exclusion to the Claims Administrator by the Opt-Out Deadline set
by this Court in this Order; (e) any Settlement Class Member who
does not timely submit a properly completed Request for Exclusion
by the Opt-Out Deadline shall be a Settlement Class Member and
shall be bound by the terms of the Settlement and the terms of
the Final Order and Judgment (if this Court finally approves
same), provided that, in order to obtain the Benefits of the
Settlement, a Settlement Class Member must timely submit a Claim
Form as provided in Section 5 of the Settlement Agreement.

12. GE, GE’s Counsel and Settlement Class Counsel shall
preserve all Claim Forms and any and all related documents and/or
written communications from Settlement Class Members until March
1, 2007, or pursuant to further order of the Court. All such
materials shall be available at all reasonable times for
inspection and copying by Settlement Class Counsel and GE’s
Counsel.

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13. Any Settlement Class Member may enter an appearance in
the Action, at the Settlement Class Member’s own expense,
individually or through counsel of the Settlement Class Member’s
choice. Any such appearance shall be served on or prior to the
date of its filing, on Settlement Class Counsel. Any Settlement
Class Member who does not enter an appearance will be represented
by Settlement Class Counsel.

14. The Fairness Hearing will be held on April 27, 2006 at
10 a.m. to determine whether to finally approve the Settlement.
Settlement Class Members who have timely filed an objection may
then and there appear and show cause why the Settlement should
not be approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate; or why the
proposed Final Order and Judgment should or should not be entered
thereon; or why attorneys’ fees and expenses should or should not
be awarded to Settlement Class Counsel; or why incentive awards
should or should not be paid to the Plaintiff; provided, however,
no Settlement Class Member shall be entitled to contest or object
to the Court’s decision on any of the foregoing matters unless
that Person has (a) no later than the Objection Date filed
written objections and any supporting documentation, papers and
briefs with the Clerk of the United States District Court for the
Middle District of Florida, Ft. Myers Division and (b) mailed or
delivered copies of such objections, documentation, papers, and

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briefs no later than the Objection Date to Settlement Class
Counsel and GE counsel. In order to be considered for hearing,
all objections must be filed with the Court by March 14, 2006 and
postmarked to Settlement Class Counsel and GE Counsel no later
than midnight March 14, 2006. Unless otherwise ordered by the
Court, any Settlement Class Member who does not make his, her or
its objection in the manner provided in the Notice shall be
deemed to have waived such objection and shall forever be
foreclosed from making any objection to the Settlement, to the
award of attorneys’ fees and expenses to Settlement Class
Counsel, and to any payment of incentive awards to the Plaintiff.
15. At the Fairness Hearing, the Court shall determine
whether any application for attorneys’ fees or reimbursement of
expenses, or any application for incentive awards to the
Plaintiff shall be approved.

16. All costs incurred in connection with publishing the
Notice to the members of the Settlement Class and all reasonable
and necessary expenses incurred in administering the Settlement
shall be paid by GE, as provided by the terms of the Settlement
Agreement. In the event the Settlement is not approved by the
Court, or otherwise fails to become effective, neither the
Plaintiff nor his counsel shall have any obligation to pay any

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such costs incurred but unpaid, or to repay any amounts actually
and properly disbursed.

17. The findings and rulings in this Order are made solely
for the purposes of Settlement and may not be cited or otherwise
used to support the certification of any contested class or
subclass in this Action or any other action.

18. If logistical problems arise from implementation of
this Order, then the parties shall bring them to the attention of
this Court for resolution by subsequent order of this Court.

19. The Clerk of the Court is authorized, directed and
ordered to sign and date the Notice (contained within Exhibit B
to the Settlement Agreement) approved by this Order, with such
modifications as may be authorized by this Order.

20. After consideration by this Court of issues relating
to comity and the complexity of this Action, the Court finds that
simultaneous proceedings in other forums relating to the claims
in the Action would significantly impede the conduct of the
litigation. The existence of competing actions would jeopardize
this Court’s ability to rule on the Settlement, would
substantially increase the cost of litigation, would create risk
of conflicting results, would waste Court resources, and could
prevent Plaintiff and the Settlement Class Members from
benefiting from any negotiated settlement.

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21. Accordingly, GE and each of the Settlement Class
Members hereby are made subject to the exclusive jurisdiction and
venue of this Court for any suit, action, proceeding, case,
controversy, or dispute regarding any Settled Claim(s), the
Settlement Agreement and exhibits hereto and performance or
breach of same. All Settlement Class Members and persons in
privity with them, including all persons represented by them, are
barred and enjoined from commencing or continuing any suit,
action, proceeding, case, controversy, or dispute relating to:
(1) a Refrigerator with a Moisture-Related Problem, as those
terms are defined within the Settlement Agreement; (2) the
Settlement Agreement and exhibits hereto; and (3) performance or
breach of same. Such Persons are further barred and enjoined
from seeking to raise any objections or challenges to the
Settlement, in any state or federal court or other body other
than the United States District Court for the Middle District of
Florida, Ft. Myers Division.

22. The Court reserves the right to adjourn the date of
the Fairness Hearing without further notice to the Settlement
Class, and retains jurisdiction to consider all further
applications arising out of or in connection with the Settlement.
The Court may approve the Settlement, with such modification as

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may be agreed to by GE and the Plaintiff, if appropriate, without
further notice.

23. If the Settlement is not approved by the Court or is
not consummated for any reason whatsoever, the Settlement and all
proceedings had in connection therewith shall be null and void
and without prejudice to the status quo ante and rights of GE and
the Plaintiff as they existed prior to the date of execution of
the Settlement Agreement, except as otherwise provided in the
Settlement Agreement.

DONE and ORDERED in Chambers in Ft. Myers, Florida, this

22nd day of December 2005.

Copies to:
All Counsel of Record

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