A federal judge has approved a $104 million settlement between CertainTeed Corp. and a class of consumers who alleged that various home sidings made by the company were prone to premature degradation and failure. In 2010, numerous class actions were filed across the country against CertainTeed alleging product defects. In 2011, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred all of the actions filed in federal district court complaining about CertainTeed’s siding to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Under the settlement agreement a gross, nonreversionary settlement fund of $103.9 million is created for the benefit of the settlement class. A six-year claims period was established. Owners of properties on which failed siding was installed will be able to obtain cash payments based on the size of the affected wall and the extent of any failure. The compensation to be provided to class members under the settlement will be based on criteria including the size, age and condition of the damaged siding. Class members whose repair costs are greater due to the size or complexity of the siding on their walls will receive proportionately more than those with lesser amounts of siding on their walls. Similarly situated class members will receive similar benefits under the proposed settlement. The parties went to mediation as the litigation progressed and the settlement was reached during the mediation.
CertainTeed manufactured and marketed its fly ash-based siding products as durable, long-lasting and appropriate for use on homes. The Plaintiffs alleged that they began noticing large gaps between the siding boards on their houses, years after purchasing homes built with the siding. The products involved in the litigation are the Weatherboards Fiber Cement Siding, Lap Siding, Vertical Siding, Shapes, Soffit, Porch Ceiling, and 7/16” Trim.
It was contended by the Plaintiffs that since at least 2002, CertainTeed made and sold defective siding to thousands of customers across the country and that the company failed to adequately design and test its products before placing them on the market. The Plaintiffs alleged that CertainTeed reasonably should have known that the siding was defective, and that in addition to shrinking, cracking and warping, the siding also tends to freeze during winter and displays poor paint adhesion and significant moisture absorption.
The class Plaintiffs are represented by H. Laddie Montague Jr., Lawrence Deutsch and Shanon J. Carson of the Philadelphia firm of Berger & Montague, and by Michael McShane of Audet & Partners located in San Francisco The case is In re: CertainTeed Fiber Cement Siding Litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Sources: Juan Carlos Rodriguez and Law360
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