Wisconsin Manufacturing News

Briggs close to settlement in class-action lawsuits over engine labels; WMC names Manufacturers of the Year; Oshkosh Corp. lands another military contract for $640 million

Briggs close to settlement in class-action lawsuits over engine labels

Milwaukee-based Briggs & Stratton Corp. has entered into a stipulation of settlement that, if given court approval, will resolve more than 65 class-action lawsuits that have been filed against the company and other engine and lawnmower manufacturers.

The suits allege, among other things, that the companies misled consumers with incorrect power labeling on their lawnmower engines.

As part of the settlement, Briggs & Stratton and the other settling defendants have agreed to establish a class-wide cash settlement fund totaling $51 million, as well as certain injunctive relief concerning the power labeling of engines for the next 10 years. In addition, Briggs & Stratton will offer a one year extension of its current warranty for all class members filing a claim.

As part of the stipulation, Briggs & Stratton has denied that it has done anything wrong and seeks a resolution to avoid further protracted and expensive litigation.

Briggs & Stratton expects to recognize a pretax expense of approximately $31 million ($19 million after tax) in the third quarter of fiscal 2010 to reflect the impact of the settlement.

The stipulation, once approved, will resolve nationwide class-action litigation that first commenced in June 2004.

The proposed agreement has been submitted to Judge Lynn Adelman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin for preliminary approval .

WMC names Manufacturers of the Year

The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce has named the winners of its 22nd annual Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Awards.

The winners of the Grand Awards were: Oshkosh Corp.’s Defense Division, Oshkosh, mega company category; American Orthodontics Corp., Sheboygan, large company category; Sentry Equipment Corp., Oconomowoc, medium company category; Northwoods Paper Converting, Beaver Dam, small company category; and Frito-Lay, Inc., Beloit, sustainability category.

The awards recognized Wisconsin manufacturers that demonstrate a commitment to business excellence which has a positive impact on the company and the state, making Wisconsin a better place to live, work and play.

"The award acknowledges the progress and growth at Oshkosh Defense, as well the hard work and experience of our employees," said Andy Hove, Oshkosh Corp. executive vice president and president of the Defense Division. "This award is a tribute to the dedication of our workforce in building the finest military tactical wheeled vehicles to help supply our Armed Forces and help protect the lives of someone’s son, daughter, mother or father."

The winners of the Special Awards were: Mayville Engineering Company Inc. (MEC), Mayville, “Community Involvement and Conservation Education;” Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Company Inc., Manitowoc, “Industry Perseverance;” and Plastic Components Inc., Germantown, “Commitment to Community and Employees.”

Oshkosh Corp. lands another military contract for $640 million

Oshkosh Corp. has received an additional $640 million contract from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC) to deliver 1,460 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV).

To date, Oshkosh Corp. has received federal Defense Department awards valued at more than $4.74 billion for 8,079 M-ATVs, as well as spare parts kits and aftermarket in-theater support.

"Our Armed Forces have Oshkosh’s full assurance that these highly mobile, life protecting vehicles will continue to be a top priority because we understand the urgency of the situation," said Robert Bohn, chairman and chief executive officer of Oshkosh Corp. "From day one, Oshkosh Corp. and our employees have been committed to meet or exceed the M-ATV delivery requirements, while simultaneously producing our other quality advanced tactical wheeled vehicles and meeting all other contractual obligations."

The Oshkosh M-ATV is the newest MRAP model, developed in response to an urgent need in Afghanistan. The vehicle is specifically designed to operate on the country’s harsh mountainous terrain and unimproved roads while providing protection levels equal to or better than those of legacy MRAPs. Able to overcome steep, rocky and rugged terrain, the vehicle uses the Oshkosh-patented TAK-4 independent suspension system for superior cross-country mobility, including a 70 percent off-road profile capability and 16 inches of independent wheel travel.

Oshkosh has received orders to supply more than 2,400 TAK-4 systems for legacy MRAP upgrades for improved off-road mobility in Afghanistan.


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