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No Centralization of Gentek Siding Lawsuits, Panel Says

Apr 18, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

A panel of federal judges has decided that it would not be appropriate at this time to consolidate federal lawsuits over Gentek exterior siding in a multidistrict litigation.  In an order dated April 16, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) denied a motion by Defendants, Gentek Building Products, Inc. and Associated Materials, LLC, to centralize the Gentek siding lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

So far, Gentek and Associated Materials have been named in seven lawsuits in various federal jurisdictions over the companies' exterior aluminum and steel siding.  Among other things, the Gentek siding lawsuits allege the  siding is  defectively designed and manufactured in such a way that it will prematurely fail, causing damage to consumer homes, which will lead to lowered property values,  According  to plaintiffs, even though Gentek's warranty terms obligate it to replace or repair the siding, or to refinish siding which was sold in 1995 and thereafter, customers have been told by Gentek that the company will only repaint and will not replace defective siding.

According to details provided by the JPML order, all of the Gentek siding lawsuit plaintiffs had opposed centralization of the lawsuits.  Instead, they had proposed a voluntary consolidation in the Northern District of Ohio.   In oral arguments, plaintiffs confirmed that they will soon voluntarily dismiss their actions and re-file their cases in the Northern District of Ohio. In the past, the Panel said it has denied centralization where the plaintiffs have agreed to litigate their actions in a single district.  For that reason, the JPML denied the Defendants' motion for centralization, holding it inappropriate at this time.


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