LegalEase  
Be Prepared and Plan Ahead  
Protecting Your Company from Anti-Glass Laws  
b y C h a r l e s A . C h i p ” G e n t r y  
t’s no secret that we live in an in-  
So what does that mean for you and I recommend adding several additional  
creasingly litigious world. Unfor- your company? Basically, SB 821 would items to your checklist before taking a  
tunately, some states currently are limit the time for you to determine job in one of these states. For example:  
working on legislation that would only how to proceed with a warranty claim, Has the end user/customer been in-  
I
further decrease the available time for a decision that could drastically affect  
manufacturers and employers to eval- the future of your company, to a mere  
uate meritorious claims and to defeat 30 days.  
volved in other litigation? Are they  
“sue happy”?  
• Do your terms and conditions iden-  
tify what state law applies?  
attempts at frivolous lawsuits. Worse  
What do you do if you are a smaller  
yet,some states have already seen these company located thousands of miles Do your terms and conditions indi-  
bills pass through both their State away with minimal resources and a lim-  
House and Senate, which likely means ited amount of “boots on the ground”?  
the ever-increasing litigation boom of This bill likely would require you to put  
cate where any lawsuit must be filed,  
identifying the state, county and or  
arbitration process?  
the 21st century is sure to not only con- all other projects on hold and immedi- Who are your“boots on the ground”?  
tinue, but grow.  
ately send your team across the country  
to assess the alleged claims.Even a large  
company with lots of resources must  
Who is the face of the company? Are  
they solid with their customer ser-  
vice and “bedside manner”?  
SB 821  
Take, for example, Connecticut Bill now allocate time and energy to make How do you track warranty claims?  
SB 821: An Act Concerning Roofing, sure certain claims are handled within  
Window and Siding Consumer War- 30 days.What if you need the opinion of  
Do you have a key person and/or a  
team to respond in a timely manner?  
ranties and Post-Sale Warranty Work an expert and/or meaningful field tests Do you have an expert ready to help  
Reimbursement for Power Equipment to truly decipher whether your com- on quick notice?  
Dealers. Quite a mouthful, I know. pany is at fault? With the clock already Do you have replacement supplies in  
Starting January 1, 2018, in the state of ticking, you’ll have to locate, negotiate  
Connecticut: and contract with your expert, who in  
stock?  
The answers could provide you with  
Whenever a manufacturer of turn has virtually no time to analyze, the necessary information to safeguard  
residential roofing, window or sid- review and opine on the situation. Cur- your company’s future. If numerous  
ing materials offers a consumer rently, the consequences and repercus- other competing manufacturers have  
warranty [for such products], such sions of SB 821 are unknown, but it’s turned down the contract, that should  
manufacturer shall pay any war- critical to be prepared.  
also tell you something: suppliers be-  
ware. If the individual or company has  
been involved in one or more glass  
Although Connecticut and other lawsuits, press them further. Ask them  
ranty claim made for materials and  
labor pursuant to such warranty not My Advice  
later than thirty days after receipt  
and approval of such claim. The states aren’t as manufacturer-friendly follow-up questions and conduct your  
manufacturer shall approve or dis- as they have been historically, I’m not own in-house research to determine  
approve a warranty claim not later advocating for a full-on boycott there. if the opportunity outweighs the risk.  
than thirty days after receipt of such Some folks will elect to stay away from And lastly, talk to your own counsel  
claim …  
these states, while others will see pre- about the possibility of including a  
[
and] if a warranty claim is not cious market share and sales opportu- forum selection clause into your con-  
disapproved in writing by the thir- nity. But with opportunity comes risk. tract. This will allow you to control  
tieth day after receipt of such claim In order to offset the risks of doing where a potential lawsuit or dispute  
it shall be deemed to be approved business in these states, your company resolution process will take place, and  
and payment shall be made by the must plan ahead.If a potential contract what state’s laws will be applied.  
manufacturer not later than thirty for a job in one of these states seems Finally, I recommend you do your  
days thereafter.”  
too good to be true, it may very well be. homework up front and (1) notify your  
14  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | August 2017  
www.usglassmag.com  
project evaluator, (2) f nd your expert, trusted project evaluator, call your ex-  
Note:Due, in part, to industry leaders  
and (3) educate your experienced glass pert and provide them with the avail- reaching out to the Connecticut gover-  
trial counsel,as soon as you take on the able details of the project, and notify nor, the proposed bill was vetoed. How-  
project. Focus on the things you can your legal counsel of the project’s size ever, keeping your f nger on the pulse of  
control. State legislatures have spoken, and potential exposure. Be prepared this type of damaging legislation is crit-  
and some are only willing to give you and plan ahead. That way, when other ical to survival. n  
3
0 days to evaluate and decide whether companies shy away from poten-  
a claim is covered under your warranty, tially lucrative contracts in states  
but nothing is stopping you from uti- with unfavorable laws, your com-  
lizing your time effectively prior to a pany can conf dently step up and  
C h a r l e s A . C h i p ”  
G e n t r y is a founding  
member of Call & Gentry Law  
Group in Jefferson City, Mo.  
He can be reached at chip@  
callgentry.com.  
claim being tendered against you.  
evaluate the risks and rewards  
When taking on a project in an anti- knowing you have the tools in  
glass-manufacturer state, provide the place to make a smart and calcu-  
f le as soon as possible to your most lated decision.  
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www.usglassmag.com  
August 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
15  

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