Harbor Freight, a leading American low price tools retailer, announced another recall for its three Ton and six-ton heavy-duty jack stands sold under the Pittsburgh brand. The recall is due to a welding defect that increases the risk of sudden collapse or breaking of the devices while holding up a vehicle, posing a grave danger of property damage, severe injuries, or even death.

Suppose you are a consumer of this product and have suffered the loss of a loved one, property damage, or injuries because of the collapse of the recalled jack stands. You will probably feel the loss is your fault. However, this isn’t the case. No one should hold you responsible for suffering harm because of a defective product. Instead, the manufacturer, distributor, or reseller of the tools should be held accountable.

At Consumer Alert Now, we are eager to help you receive compensation for your injuries or possible death caused by defective tools. Our representatives will help you find attorneys to assist you or a loved one join a class action to demand compensation from Harbor Freight Tools.

Understanding Jack Stands

Car owners understand that once in a while, they have to perform repairs or maintenance. When you need to change a tire or perform repairs beneath your car, you will need adequate space to move your hands. Suppose you want to suspend or hold the vehicle up as you complete the repairs; you will need jack stands.

A jack stand is a tripod or tower cut device designed to support a car’s weight when held up. The tools are placed beneath the car frame to offer extra support to the suspended vehicle. You position the stands after jacking the car using a floor jack. These tools should be used on hard and level surfaces and should support vehicles whose weight is within the stand’s capacity.

Remember that if the jack stands fail to hold the vehicle’s weight, they may collapse, causing severe harm or possibly death to the person beneath the car. For this reason, whenever you are purchasing these tools, make sure you get quality products from a reliable manufacturer or retailer.

The majority of U.S. citizens purchase jack stands from Harbor Freight Tools U.S.A. The company is the leading retailer of quality and affordable steel stands in the country. 

Critical Safety Information on Jack Stands

A manufacturer of any product must warn its consumers about its harm if not used properly. In the case of jack stands, consumers have been provided with safety warnings. Failure to adhere to these warnings could result in personal injuries or damage to property. For this reason, anyone using jack stands must understand the following safety information:

  • Read, comprehend, and heed the instructions before operating the tool
  • Stick to the rated weight capacity. Further, you should be conscious of unexpected load movement because it might lead to excess weight making the jack to collapse or fail.
  • You should use the stands on hard and level surfaces
  • Center the weight of the vehicle on the saddle
  • The jack used on one end of the car must match the pair on the other end
  • When operating the stands, ensure you have heavy-duty gloves and ANSI-approved safety goggles.
  • Avoid using jack stands on aircrafts
  • You should hold up the vehicle only in locations recommended by the manufacturer
  • Inspect the jack stands for loose parts or damages
  • Before every use, ensure to check the device for cracks or damage. In case of any minor cracks, deformation, or bend, dispose of the jack.
  • Keep your workstation clean because a cluttered working area increases the risk of injuries.
  • Ensure your garage or work area is well lighted and other conditions are met
  • Keep children away from your garage or work station where repairs are happening
  • Keep the devices in a dry place when not in use to prevent rust
  • Use the stands as intended only
  • Avoid loose clothing or jewelry because when caught on moving parts, they could cause disengagement.
  • Keep the devices clean and safe for efficiency reasons
  • Do not utilize these tools under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Take note that all the warnings and cautions highlighted above do not include all conditions and situations that might happen. It’s up to you, the individual operating the jack, to use common sense and be cautious when handling these devices.

Operating Jack Stands

As mentioned above, jack stands provide support to the elevated vehicle. When using the devices to elevate a car, ensure its weight doesn’t exceed the stand’s capacity. Capacity means even distribution of weight for every pair of jacks.

Once your car is on a level surface and the parking brake is active, you should place the stand below the vehicle. However, you should lower the handle of the stand to lower the post first wholly. Ensure the divots on your jacks are directly below the pinch points on the sides of the vehicle. If the car lacks the pinch points, use its axle or frame. All the divots should be set on the same end on each side of the vehicle and should be on the same height to ensure stability.

Most of the instructions on assembling and operating jack stands are in the manual. Therefore, consumers of these products are encouraged to read the manuals to ensure they are set up safely. When operating these devices, minor mistakes are the main cause of property damage, injuries if the stands collapse.

Many cases of jack stands collapsing have been reported recently, causing Harbor Freight Tools to recall 1.7 million units of these devices. If you have been using any of the recalled stands and sustained injuries, most probably operating errors are not the cause. The jack stands might have been defective. The manufacturer, retailer, or distributor of the products will be responsible for any harm or property damage resulting from faulty products.

Harbor Freight guarantees its customers quality and durable jacks. The retailer further guarantees the buyer free defects in materials or artistry for 90 days after the purchase. The 90-day warranty doesn’t apply to deformation or defects that stem from the consumer’s accidents, misuse, inadequate setup, criminal activity, negligence, or low maintenance.

Even if you sustain catastrophic injuries or possible death due to a defect caused by any of these things, Harbor Freight won’t be responsible.  Therefore, always study the manual for the warning, caution, and instructions on operating. By safely using the jack stands, you will avoid injuries, deaths, or property damages that result from the collapse of these devices when under load.

Reasons for Using Jack Stands during Vehicle Repairs

When you are thinking of changing your car tires or checking the brakes, you will need to elevate the vehicle to create space for waving your arms while underneath it. A few individuals will prefer cinder blocks over jack stands when performing these duties.  They do this because they believe cinder blocks can hold the weight of the car. Others have limited budgets to buy jack stands.

Cinder blocks hold up an evenly distributed load. A shift in the car’s weight to one side can cause the cinder block to crumble, causing severe harm or even death. Also, using crates is not an option because they can collapse at any time. The best way to avoid horrible accidents is by using jack stands. These tools are designed to withstand the weight of the vehicle. Jacks will keep you safe while you perform your repairs under the car.

Jack Stands Problem

Although jack stands provide a lot of safety when assembled and operated the right way, some units might have problems. On 20th March 2020, Harbor Freight and NHTSA announced the recall of 1.7 million Pittsburgh heavy-duty steel jack stands over safety issues.  The reason for the recall is that the stands may collapse suddenly because of inadequate manufacturing stemming from old production machinery by Jiaxing Golden Roc Tools Co. LTD. Due to the defects, the safety of the person under the car is at risk. Users of these devices are being urged to discontinue their use because of safety reasons.

According to Jiaxing Golden officials’ evaluation, old manufacturing machinery caused welding defects because of the inconsistencies in individual units’ ratchet teeth’ engagement. It means that the pawl or gear that keeps the stand aloft’s height-adjustable post might fail to engage. When the pawl fails to lock in place adequately, it could cause sudden slippage while under load.

Further, an inconsistent positioning of the main gear armature hole resulted in a margin error, making the issue worse. Suppose the jack stand you are using has any of these defects. In that case, a sudden slip or failure to adequately engage could result in catastrophic injuries or death to the individual underneath the lifted car or bystander.

Note that Harbor Freight has made two recalls. The initial recall was 20E016, involving an average of 454,000 units manufactured between the years 2013 to 2019.  The other recall is 20E027 involving 1,254,000 jack stands produced between 1st of December 2012 and 31st March 2020.

The retailer identified manufacturing defects in its 3 Ton and 6 Ton Pittsburgh-branded jacks. The stands are marked with model numbers SKUs 56371, 61196, and 61176. Further, on 7th July 2020, Harbor Freight CEO acknowledged that the three-ton jacks with model number 56373 intended to replace the recalled ones also had defects omitted in the initial recall investigation. If you own any of the recalled jacks, you are encouraged to stop using them immediately and return them to the nearest Harbor Freight store for a refund of between $24.99 and $11.99 or store gifts of $29.99 and $123.99.

However, if you have been injured because of jack stands defects, you are eligible for compensation through a class-action lawsuit. The process is seeking compensation is a complex one, but fortunately, Consumer Alert Now is available to guide you in the case and help you find the right legal representation

Determining Whether your Jack Stands has been Recalled

First, you must identify the jack stand by checking the item or model number to begin the process of seeking reimbursement. You can recognize the 56371 units by scrutinizing the model number on the marker on top of each jack. On the other hand, you can identify the 61196 and 61197 units by examining the yellow label on the foot of every stand. The 56373 jacks are also identifiable by scrutinizing the model number on the yellow label in the foot.

Jack Stands Class Action Lawsuit

A class action is a civil action by a group of individuals known as lead plaintiffs or class representatives against an organization or person for harm or wrongful conduct. The lead plaintiffs file the lawsuit through a class counsel and prosecute the defendant’s actions for themselves and other individuals who have suffered an injury, financial loss, or death because of a defective product by the same manufacturer or retailer. These lawsuits are registered in state or federal courts and are transferable from one court to another.

Class action lawsuits are legal proceedings resulting from the negligence of a pervasive company and with multiple victims of their action or inaction. The victims of the defective product band together in a class-action suit. Doing so creates a pool of resources and helps victims who could not have filed the lawsuit because of financial constraints.

The jack stands class action lawsuit consists of all nationwide consumers who purchased the defective units facing recall from the market. The case follows the recall of the Pittsburgh three-ton and six-ton heavy-duty steel jack stands. The lawsuits against Harbor Freight are based on action or inaction by the defendant, product liability, and negligence.

Harbor Freight failed to check their production machinery to ensure it was sufficient to produce stands with zero welding defects. Further, they could not conduct enough investigation after the first recall to identify the welding defects in the three-ton jacks intended to replace the recalled ones. The retailer is also negligent for selling unmerchantable jacks unfit for their intended use.

The lawsuit further claims the discounting tools retailer sold unreasonably dangerous devices that caused damages to all buyers because they were worthless at the time of buying.

  1. Certification of a Class Action

For a class action suit to proceed, certification is mandatory. The process of accreditation differs from that of the federal government. However, many states adopt the national certification process, which is as follows:

  • There must be multiple prospective plaintiffs who cannot be joined in one lawsuit
  • All the cases must have a common question of law or fact
  • The lead or named plaintiffs must have the same claim as other members and against the same defendant.
  • The named plaintiffs must offer enough protection for the class

Certification or accreditation of the case means the lead plaintiffs are free to proceed with the suit and prove negligence or product liability on behalf of the entire class.

  1. Joining a Jack Stands Class Action

In the case of Harbor Freight, most of the people who have suffered minor financial losses because of defective stands might not even know Harbor Freight is to blame. For this reason, all the people impacted by a defective product in a class action receive a notice. If you receive this notice, it is an indicator that you have been identified as a member of the class.

Once the lead plaintiffs register a class action with the court, they work with the court to identify all the class persons.  The individuals identified will then receive notice within a reasonable time about inclusion in the legal suit.

A notice of a class action should contain particular specifics. It must clearly state the nature of the case or why the defendant is facing a lawsuit, the right to opt-out of the class, and the binding effects the verdict of the court will have on each class member.

When you receive a notice of the jack stands class action, it means you already have the court’s verdict as a member of the class. You will get an automatic representation of your interests in the lawsuit unless you opt-out or refuse to be part of the case.

Generally speaking, you don’t need to do anything to join the jack stands class-action suit. If in any way, the case affects your right, you will be involved in the case at the end. However, you will need to submit a claim via mail to receive a portion of the settlement. The notice you receive about the class action will inform you of what you need to do.

It’s critical to note that it doesn’t cost anything to join a class action. Attorneys working on these cases receive payment on a contingency basis, which means they receive a fee after achieving a settlement. If the court doesn’t award anything to the plaintiffs, the attorney won’t receive any payment. For this reason, class action suit attorneys work hard to get a maximum court award because this translates to more money.

Once the case settles, you will receive an email or standard mail notifying you of the settlement. The notification contains instructions on how to submit a claim for compensation after compensation or judgment.

Class members have the right to request exclusion from the case. The notice of settlement will provide this information too. Choosing not to be included in the case means you will not be subject to the court judgment, although you get to retain your rights to file a claim against the defendant.

What happens if you don’t receive a notice of the class action? If you feel like you have been left out and your rights are affected by the case, check the local magazines’ legal notices. For the case of Harbor Freight tools, you can type jack stands class action, and you are likely to come crossways with an existing class action. Please reach out to the attorneys handling the case for a status update.

Circumstances where a Class Action May be Appropriate

A class action proceedings are initiated when multiple claimants claim to have sustained harm in a defendant’s hands. When numerous individuals come together, they level the playing field, especially when filing a claim against a big company like Harbor Freight Tool with many resources.

Similarly, the defendants in these lawsuits are alleged to have caused widespread harm, although the damages sustained individually might be minimal. Minimal, in this case, means that the resources you invest in pursuing damages aren’t worth your money and time.

Absent of the procedural mechanisms laid down by class actions, many people would not pursue compensation individually. A class action eliminates all these inconveniences and helps people whose rights are affected by the case to bring legal action against the defendant at a reasonable cost.

Possible Compensation in a Jack Stand Class Action Suit

If you join the jack stands class action and win the case, the court will likely award monetary damages. The compensation is put in a fund intended to benefit all the class members. Typically, there is a distribution plan where every member receives a particular amount but less attorney and court fees.

The legal action might also result in declaratory judgment, where the court declares the class members’ rights and responsibilities versus the defendant.

Join a Class Action Lawsuit Near Me

If you or a close family member has suffered harm or possibly their life ended because of a collapse of jack stands, you need to take legal action. Unfortunately, not many people understand the steps to take when faced with situations like these.

Consumer Alert Now can help you give you the guidance you need and help you find the right class action attorney to enlighten you on the requirements for this legal action and whether you are eligible. Contact us today at 800-511-0747 to discuss your claim with one of our agents.