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-
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
• 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
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”?
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
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
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
too good to be true, it may very well be. homework up front and (1) notify your
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | August 2017