First be aware that the information in this lawsuit filed against Aqua Lung USA is only from the complainant, submitted by the plaintiffs lawyers and nothing has been proven or decided. Please do not mistake blame for culpability. After reading the entire class action complaint, below is a quick summary, a link to the full complaint and brief statement from Suunto. It has been our experience that Aqua Lung makes quality dive equipment and is very concerned with safety. We will be gathering more information from all parties and reporting more as appropriate.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California on 21 May 2015. We contacted both Suunto and Aqua Lung for comment and held off publishing this report to give each sufficient time to reply. Two law firms from California and one from Seattle Washington are listed on the filing. The Seattle firm handled the wrongful death case from December of 2010. Those with questions on becoming a member of the class can contact Timothy Blood at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past week Aqua Lung USA filed a motion to dismiss the case (more below).
The plaintiff claims that all of the listed Suunto branded dive computers distributed by Aqua Lung in the US have defective software which could lead to failure. Further that Aqua Lung knew about the problem and failed to warn customers and the public. If you purchased a Suunto dive computer on the list you are part of the class. If the class is certified and the complaint is successful there is a claim for owners to be compensated. One diver death is cited as being caused by the failure of a Cobra 2. The list appears to include all of the Suunto dive computers distributed by Aqua Lung USA but does not include the new Suunto EON Steel. The listed computers are: Cobra, Cobra 2, Cobra 3, Cobra 3 Black, Vyper, Vyper 2, Vyper Air, HelO2, Gekko, Vytec, Vytec DS, D9tx, D9, D6, D6i, D4i, D4, and Zoop.
The following is from an email sent to ScubaGadget by Suunto:
We’re unable to comment much for as long as the case is being processed. However, we take any complaint seriously and the safety of our products is our utmost priority.
Aqua Lung has now filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, so please see below our official statement to the matter at this point:
Suunto is aware of the fact that a class action complaint has been filed in the US against our US distributor Aqua Lung America Ltd regarding Suunto dive computers.
Our distributor Aqua Lung has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, based on that Mr. Huntzinger does not say in the complaint that he personally experienced any problem with his Cobra 3. Therefore, the complaint should be dismissed entirely. For legal reasons we are unfortunately unable to comment the case further.
For Suunto, the safety of divers and our products is the key priority, and we deny our products are unsafe. We do not compromise on quality: each Suunto dive computer is individually tested before being released for sales and all products are warrantied with one of the best warranties in the industry.
Suunto has been manufacturing dive computers since 1984 and has been the global market leader since 1987.
It is hard to see as coincidence a report we read on ScubaBoard in May 2015 before the lawsuit was made public. The report was from Scuba Industry News by online dive equipment retailer Scuba.com. It stated that Aqua Lung may have separated from Suunto and Aqua Lung had purchased Pelagic Pressure Systems Inc. The report was removed shortly thereafter. A call to Scuba.com was answered with “after we posted that story, we received a call from the involved parties and were asked not to comment on this.”
An official announcement from Aqua Lung states: “Aqua Lung and Suunto are announcing the decision to end our distribution cooperation for Suunto dive instrumentation in the following countries: France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Portugal, the USA, Australia and New Zealand.”
And from Huish Outdoors (Bare, Atomic, Stahlsac, Zeagle): “Huish Outdoors is pleased to announce that we have joined forces with Suunto and will be taking over distribution in the U.S. starting January 1, 2016.”
I called Pelagic Pressure Systems and they confirmed they were now owned by Aqua Lung. Based in San Leandro, California Pelagic Pressure Systems, according to Bloomberg is “an original equipment manufacturer which produces and supplies mechanical and digital pressure sensing instruments for various scuba, aircraft, and firefighting industries.” The company was founded by Bob and Mike Hollis and, until the sale, operated as a subsidiary of American Underwater Products, Inc. (Oceanic, Hollis). They are also reported to make dive computers for Beuchat, Genesis, and Sherwood among others.