Judge Refuses to Dismiss Gentek Siding Lawsuit

A federal judge has denied a motion by Gentek Building Products Inc. to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed by homeowners who claim its aluminum and steel siding is defective. In an order dated August 23, U.S. District Judge Benita Y. Pearson also said the defendant’s motion to strike the class action allegations was premature because the Court had yet to adjudicate the class action certification.

The original <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/gentek-defective-siding-contruction-defect-lawsuit">Gentek siding class action lawsuit was filed in November 2010 by nine homeowners and residents of North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Idaho. All had purchased Gentek aluminum or steel siding covered by a “Lifetime Warranty” against manufacturing defects resulting in cracking, chipping, flaking, peeling, or splitting of the paint.

The plaintiffs alleged that the Gentek siding at issue has a manufacturing defect that causes it to chip and peel prematurely. They further alleged that they and thousands of others experienced delaminated paint, prompting them to file warranty claims with Gentek. According to the lawsuit, Gentek only offered to repaint the affected area or pay the owner a “small amount of compensation,” even though the warranty provides that the company will repair, refinish or replace the defective siding at no cost to the property owner if the siding fails within three years of installation. After the first three years from date of installation, the warranty states that Gentek will assume the cost of material and labor for any warranted work upon Gentek’s receipt of $100 payment by the property owner for each incident covered by the warranty.

Gentek had asked the court to strike the class action allegations by asserting they did not present common questions of fact that predominate over questions affecting individual members. In the August 23 order, Judge Pearson called Gentek’s motion to strike class certification premature. “Whether the commonality requirement has been demonstrated cannot be determined until discovery has taken place and choice of law provisions applied,” the order states.

Gentek had also moved to have the complaint dismissed, claiming the plaintiffs’ allegations failed to suggest actionable conduct. In refusing to dismiss the complaint, Judge Pearson writes that, “Plaintiffs have nudged each alleged cause of action across the line from conceivable to plausible by asserting facts that substantiate each claim and suggest actionable conduct.”

Judge Pearson wrote in the order that the Court will set up a status conference via phone in September to determine an appropriate discovery cut-off date.

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