Kaba Simplex Locks Lawsuits Proceed, As Judge Appoints Plaintiffs’ Attorneys to Key Posts

Lawsuits involving Kaba Ilco’s Simplex Pushbutton Locks are moving forward. <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Kaba-Keyless-Locks-Simplex-Pushbutton-Mechanical-Lock-Class-Action-Lawsuit">Kaba Simplex Locks lawsuits around the country have already been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, and last week, the judge presiding over the cases assigned key roles in the litigation to plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Plaintiffs in Kaba Simplex Locks lawsuits have alleged that these keyless locks can easily be opened with a magnet, leaving their homes and businesses vulnerable to burglary.

Jerrold Parker, Managing Partner with the national law firm of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/">Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, was among the attorneys named to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) in the Kaba Simplex Locks Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation (MDL NO. 2220). Mr. Parker and other plaintiffs lawyers were named to the PSC by U.S.District Judge Donald C. Nugent in an order dated March 8, 2011.

The other attorneys named to the PSC included:

• Simcha D. Schonfeld
• Solomon Klein
• Mark Schlachet
• Mark J. Geragos
• Frank E. Piscitelli, Jr.
• James L. Deese
• D. Scott Kalish
• Daniel Becnel

In the same order, Judge Nugent also named John R. Climaco as Plaintiffs Liaison Counsel. Mr. Climaco, Richard J. Arsenault and Hunter J. Shkolnik were appointed Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel.

The Kaba Simplex Pushbutton Locks, which retail for $300 or more, are used by countless businesses, apartment buildings, hotels, motels, college dorms and even public bathrooms. The Simplex Pushbutton Locks, which retail for $300 or more, are also frequently used by members of the Jewish community due to the fact that they don’t require a key, as carrying keys is forbidden on the Sabbath.

Rather than a key or magnetic card, the locks are accessed by a PIN number chosen by the lock owner. North Carolina-based Kaba Ilco Corp. claims this PIN system is more secure than other types of access control, and makes the locks for locations with regular personnel turnover, like data processing centers, employee entrances, research labs, apartment complexes, and dorms.

However, plaintiffs allege that by placing a magnet small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand on the front of a Kaba keyless lock, an intruder can have access to a premise in just seconds. The lawsuits seek replacement of the defective locks or immediate payment for Simplex Lock purchasers so that they may change out the locks in order to ensure their safety.

According to a report published in Forbes Magazine earlier this year, the Simplex locks were designed using a critical component called the combination chamber that has been discovered to be sensitive to a strong magnetic field. Kaba reported that it only learned of this security vulnerability in August 2010.

However, as the Forbes article points out, many lock manufacturers and security experts have been aware of the availability of strong magnets that are capable of opening some locking mechanisms. Despite this widespread awareness, Kaba continued to use this design for years in their locks. The author of the Forbes article maintains that every vulnerable lock should be upgraded to reduce the threat from this kind of attack, especially in high security applications.

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