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LOS ANGELES -- Central Sprinkler Corp. received preliminary approval last week to settle a class-action suit brought against it in connection with the manufacture of its Omega line of sprinklers.

The settlement, to which a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge gave preliminary approval, mirrors a recall agreement Central reached last month with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (BI, Oct. 19).

The CPSC charged that the sprinklers fail to work, and building owners had sought funding to replace them.

Under the terms of the class-action settlement, Central would establish a multimillion-dollar fund to defer the costs of replacing about 9 million sprinklers installed in homes and commercial and public buildings throughout the United States.

Also, members of the class would be barred from bringing any more claims regarding the replacement of installed Omega sprinklers.

However, plaintiffs still can opt out of the class or raise objections to the settlement terms. The court is expected to give final approval at a hearing scheduled for Feb. 19, attorneys for plaintiffs and defendants said.

The Washington, D.C.-based Building Owners & Managers Assn. earlier had objections to settlement terms, but BOMA now has agreed to the settlement, a BOMA spokesman said.

BOMA was seeking class-action status for a separate lawsuit filed in Philadelphia against Lansdale, Pa.-based Central. But a motion to certify the class was taken off the Philadelphia court's calendar, sources familiar with the case said.

A lawsuit Central has filed against several liability insurers to obtain coverage related to the settlement and the recall continues, a company representative said.