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Federal Judge says GAF must Defend Warranty Claims against Timberline Ultra Roof Shingles

Jan 21, 2013

Last week, a federal judge refused to dismiss a class-action lawsuit against GAF Materials Corp. that claims the company’s express warranty on roofing shingles is “unfair and unreasonable.”

According to a report, District Judge J. Michelle Childs let claims against GAF’s warranty on its roofing shingles stand in a putative class-action lawsuit against the national building supplies manufacturer. She dismissed allegations of fraud and negligence against the company because it is outside the statute of repose, a 7-year period, in North Carolina, where the shingles were purchased by the woman leading the class-action against GAF.

The lawsuit will now be combined with other lawsuits against the company and its GAF Timberline Ultra roofing shingles, a Multidistrict Litigation pending in Childs’ South Carolina court known as In re: Building Materials Corp. of America Asphalt Roofing Shingle Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 8:11-mn-02000, in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. Building Materials Corp. of America does business as GAF Materials Corp.

The lawsuit’s claims that the company knew these shingles were defective and prone to cracking will be allowed to stand, based on the judge’s ruling. Because it was aware the Timberline Ultra shingles were defective, the warranty expressed on every package of these shingles is unfair to the consumer. Based on the law in this case, the Plaintiffs will have to prove that GAF

According to the same report, the “smart-choice” warranty “limits coverage and contains a disclaimer stating it replaces all other warranties, whether express or implied.”

Information from previous reports on this site indicate that similar class-action lawsuits have been filed by homeowners in Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The company has been dogged for more than a decade with similar lawsuits that claim its Timberline shingles are defective and prone to cracking early. These shingles are marketed to last up to 40 years.

Cracked shingles can lead to myriad problems for homeowners. They allow the elements to penetrate the infrastructure of a home and can lead to severe water and structural damage to a home over time, costing tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

In her judgement handed down last week, Childs wrote: “Throughout the amended complaint, (the Plaintiff) alleges that GAF possessed superior knowledge concerning the condition of the shingles which she and the purported class members did not possess, thereby placing them in a significantly inferior bargaining position at the time of the purchase. Based on the allegations, the court finds that (the Plaintiff) has sufficiently alleged that the warranty disclaimer was unconscionable or unenforceable.”

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