Cycling attorney files class action against Kryptonite

The class action has been filed at the San Diego Superior Court Case, California. Despite the fact many lock manufacturers supply security products which can be opened with deformable plastic tubes - such as Bic pen barrels - it's only Kryptonite mentioned in the class action. Attorney firm Estey-Bomberger bases its action on Kryptonite's failure to change from tubular cylinder mechanisms after the Bic-opening method was first publicised in a British bicycle magazine in 1992. BikeBiz.com is cited as a source of evidence in the class action.
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Tort lawyer Mike Bomberger put this out on the wires last night:

CLASS ACTION FILED OVER DEFECTIVE BICYCLE LOCKS

Krystle Rose Moore v. Ingersoll-Rand Company et al San Diego Superior Court Case No. GIC836108

FILED SEPTEMBER 21, 2004 SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of consumers who purchased bike or tool locks that have a cylindrical lock mechanism that can be opened with a Bic pen. The case filed today presents claims on behalf of thousands

of cyclists and others who have purchased locks from Kryptonite and Ingersoll-Rand retailers during the past last four years. The suit seeks restitution and replacements for the defective locks. Some recent Internet cycling articles regarding the situation have suggested Kryptonite may have been aware of this problem as early as 1992. (see -

http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/.../article.php?id=4659) It could be problematic for manufacturers if they knew of the problem but continued to sell the defective locks.

One of the attorneys filing the case, Mike Bomberger, is himself an avid cyclist. His firm Estey & Bomberger is in the process of installing a link on their website ( http://www.estey-bomberger.com ) to answer questions and gather

information from potential claimants. The link and information gathering page should be up and running by Wed afternoon.

John Stuart Clark, author of the 1992 article referenced in the first BikeBiz.com story on the Kryptonite-Bikeforum.net saga, said he's surprised the security issue wasn't resolved following his article.

"I got a lot of stick for writing that article," Stuart Clark told BikeBiz.com.

"Lock manufacturers and lock suppliers tried to discredit me because I had been dealing with villains, but they didn't do anything to improve their products. Villains had known about the Bic-trick for years before I wrote about it."

In his original article (New Cyclist, October 1992), Clark had been shown how to crack, blow, bust and jack into all manner of locks by three professional thieves. 'Smarmy Dick', a reformed thief, said his record at smashing into two u-locks and walking away with a top-end, stolen-to-order bicycle was 25 seconds.

Thieves, said Smarmy Dick, usually prefer strong-arm lock busting techniques but "on quiet nights tinker away with the shafts of felt tip pens and the hoks of crochet needles...researching the quickest, quietest and surest method of release."

Stuart Clark did not go into great detail about the 'Bic method' in his article.

"I didn't want to feed people with the exact method, I made a passing comment about the plastic tube method and left it at that. But that should have been enough to make manufacturers move away from ACE mechanisms for locks supposedly protecting high-end bicycles."

Kryptonite products were not mentioned in the 1992 article.

In the article, Stuart Clark said:

"The best security in the world is merely a disincentive to the unskilled and a challenge to the pro. Our task is to create sufficient obstacles to dissuade all but the hardnuts. It's their living, damn it! They have orders, customers, wages to pay, a business to run..."

"There isn't a cycle lock on the market...which can't be cut, smashed, drilled, picked, sawn or forced in under two minutes....

Some locks tested failed to snap, said Stuart Clark, "small consolation when the tumbler is so vulnerable and, according to the Complete Book of Locks and Locksmithing, those of all ACE designs are."

"Meanwhile insurance premiums spiral...and claimants continue to be treated like culprits by investigators...who, if they expended half as much energy bullying lock manufacturers to...improve their products, might make cyclists more secure. For a start, those insurance companies that back up naff locks with a 'free £500 guarantee against theft' should instantly withdraw their confidence."

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