Volume 35, Number 6, June 2000



California Homeowners Settle Suit Alleging Faulty Windows

The Summit Court Homeown-ers Association agreed to an eleventh-hour settlement with a group of insurance companies in a construction defect lawsuit against bankrupt Baldwin Building Contractors and various subcontractors. The $3.75 million settlement ended a two-year litigation process and one of the largest cases of its kind. The association, representing a 243-unit condominium complex in Anaheim, Calif., filed suit for defects including water intrusion through windows and sliding glass doors, roof and deck leaks, and sheet metal flashing failures. The settlement avoids the time and expense of a trial that was expected to last for months. Trial is still expected to proceed against the sheet metal contractor who was not included in the settlement.

Tiffany Expert Nets
Prison Term

A U.S. District Court judge in New York imposed a two-year sentence on a Tiffany window expert who sold stained-glass stolen from cemeteries. As reported by the Associated Press, Alastair Duncan pleaded for leniency from the judge. The judge said Duncan knew the window was stolen when he resold it. The graveyard robber testified against Duncan in a plea bargain. Dun-can was also ordered to make restitution of $220,000 for the stolen window.


Proposed Settlement Announced in Heat Mirror™ Lawsuit

A proposed settlement has been reached in a nationwide class action lawsuit involving Hurd Millwork Heat Mirror Windows and Doors. The proposed terms make owners of the company’s products manufactured between January 1, 1990 and January 11, 1999 eligible for certain warranty enhancements and replacements. The affected windows and doors are sealed with Bostik 3190-HM sealant which the complaint alleges can prematurely fail, causing the glass to permanently fog.

At press time, Bostik was not available for comment.

ASA Defends Retainage Reform; Rallies for End to Retainage

Responding to comments from the Association of General Contractors (AGC), the American Subcontractors Association of Florida (ASAF) says retainage reform is not “radical” and is, in fact, long overdue. ASAF is the major advocate of two bills currently being considered in the Florida Legislature. The bill proposes limiting retainage to five percent on bonded projects, requiring the owner to release subcontractor’s retainage within 90 days after the subcontractor certifies the work is complete, and prohibits a prime contractor from retaining more from a subcontractor than the owner is retaining for that subcontractor’s work. The Florida AGC has urged legislators to “prevent radical changes to Florida’s construction industry.” The ASAF responded by calling opponents “reactionaries who are afraid of the changes necessary to bring the construction industry into the 21st century.” The legislation also allows for the owner or prime contractor to withhold payment for good-faith disputes.

On a similar note, the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) headquartered in Alexandria, Va., has kicked off a new campaign in hopes of bringing an end to retainage or retention, which causes unnecessary financial difficulties for contract glaziers every year. The program is entitled “Retainage: Dollars and $ense That Don’t Add Up.” According to ASA, members and chapters are pursuing the retainage issue through state legislation and at the federal level by supporting the U.S. Department of Transportation’s rule in favor of a ‘quick release’ of retainage to subcontractors when work is completed.


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