More than two years after consumers across the country first started filing suit against Philips Respironics (Philips) over certain recalled sleep apnea devices, the company announced that it has reached an agreement to pay $479 million to compensate consumers. Philips voluntarily recalled several different models of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and bilateral positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines and ventilators back in June 2021. In the months that followed, Philips was inundated with lawsuits by consumers, which alleged that Philips knew about the serious risk of injury posed by its recalled devices long before any public announcement. Hundreds of consumer-facing lawsuits were ultimately consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in In re: Philips Recalled CPAP, Bi-Level PAP, and Mechanical Ventilator Products Liability Litigation.
Under the proposed settlement agreement, which only covers consumers’ alleged economic losses, Philips will provide:
- Cash awards to eligible customers who file economic loss claims in amounts determined based on the type of device they used;
- Extended warranties on all replacement devices distributed by Philips; and
- Additional payments to customers who (1) return their recalled devices, and/or (2) paid out of pocket for replacement machines after the recall in June 2021.
The settlement agreement does not include any admission of liability, wrongdoing or fault, and does not settle any claims for wrongful death, personal injury or medical monitoring. Counsel for affected consumers have made clear that they still intend to seek damages for people with personal injury claims.
The settlement is still subject to final approval by the district court. If approved, payments to consumers are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024.