CertainTeed settles siding class action

Posted on: November 1st, 2013 by Steve Larson

House key ring vectorA federal judge on Thursday 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 relating to the alleged product defects, and 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.

The settlement creates a gross, non-reversionary settlement fund of $103.9 million for the benefit of the settlement class and establishes a six-year claims period and a claims process where owners of properties on which failed siding was installed may obtain cash payments based on the size of the affected wall and the extent of any failure, according to the settlement agreement.  The compensation to be provided to class members is 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 agreement said that while the litigation progressed on one track, the parties explored and commenced settlement negotiations on another track.

The suit said CertainTeed manufactured and marketed its fly ash-based siding products as durable, long-lasting and appropriate for use on homes, but plaintiffs claimed they began noticing large gaps between the siding boards on their houses, years after purchasing homes built with the siding.

The products at issue are the Weatherboards Fiber Cement Siding, Lap Siding, Vertical Siding, Shapes, Soffit, Porch Ceiling, and 7/16” Trim.

The complaint claimed 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 allege 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 case is In re: CertainTeed Fiber Cement Siding Litigation, number 2:11-md-02270 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.