NAHB: Court Strikes Down NLRB “Poster Rule”

In a victory for NAHB, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on May 7 struck down a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that would have required millions of employers across the nation to place 11-inch by 17-inch posters in a prominent area in their workplace that informs employees of their right to form a union.

The court ruled that the NLRB overstepped its authority when it issued the poster rule, which deemed failure to display the required notice an unfair labor practice. The decision stated that the NLRB lacked authority to promulgate such a rule because Section 8(c) of the National Labor Relations Act provides that the dissemination (or non-dissemination) of non-threatening speech shall not be considered an unfair labor practice.

NAHB is a member of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which was a party to the case. NAHB and other business organizations maintain that the poster rule violated free speech rights and amounted to little more than advertisements for union membership.

Chinese Drywall Settlement News

While the problems with drywall imported from China had little impact on the Upstate, we thought you might be interested in the latest news regarding a settlement in the legal dispute.

On February 7, 2013, Judge Eldon Fallon of the U.S. District for the Eastern District of Louisiana, entered an Order and Judgment approving five class‐action settlements that will make available millions of dollars to remediate homes built with Chinese drywall. According to published reports the settlements will benefit more than 10,000 property owners. The order and judgment effectively end the Chinese Drywall Multidistrict Litigation. Judge Fallon’s decision stems from a hearing in November held to help him gauge the fairness of five separate but related settlement agreements between plaintiffs’ lawyers and companies that made, supplied or installed the defective Chinese drywall. The settlements were certified for: Interior/Exterior Building Supply, LP; Banner; L&W Supply Corp.; Knauf and Global participating builders, suppliers, and installers. They resolve all claims, counterclaims, and third‐party claims among the settling parties.

The manufacturers of the drywall in question generally fell into two groups: the Knauf entities and the Taishan entities. The Taishan entities are not settling and continue to argue that the court has no personal jurisdiction over them. That issue is currently the subject of an appeal pending before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The “InEx” Settlement
This agreement provides for the tendering of all of InEx’s primary insurance proceeds, in the amount of $8,000,000, for the benefit of a national class with claims against InEx involving Chinese drywall.

The Banner Settlements
The Settlement agreement provides that Banner and its insurers will provide $54,475,558.30 for the benefit of a nationwide class consisting of all persons or entities with claims against Banner arising from or otherwise related to Chinese drywall.

The L&W Settlement
The L&W Settlement is a component of the plan for global resolution of the Knauf/KPT supply chain. Financial details were not revealed in the Order.

The Knauf Settlement
The agreement creates two funds from which plaintiffs may recover: the Remediation Fund and the Other Loss Fund. The Remediation Fund is uncapped and will pay to repair roughly 5,200 properties, mostly in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The Other Loss Fund, reported to be capped at $30 million, will reimburse for certain provable economic loss and provide a review process for individuals who believe they have bodily injury claims. In addition, attorneys’ fees and costs will be paid. This settlement is intended to resolve claims made in filed actions which arose out of KPT Chinese drywall installed in properties in the United States. Importantly, only those who filed a lawsuit in the litigation as of December 9, 2011 are eligible as class members.
 
The Global Settlement
The Global Settlement involves various builders, suppliers, and installers and provides for a total payment of $70,570,000.00 for class members regardless of the type or brand of Chinese drywall in their properties and regardless of whether they filed their claims in the MDL or another forum. The settlement does not include any properties located in Virginia (those properties are the subject of a separate class action).

HBA Builder Breakfast set for July 26; program will feature new benefits for Builders

Your HBA of Greenville will host a Builder Breakfast for HBA Builder members Thursday, July 26, 8 a.m., at Tommy’s Country Ham House.  Builder members are invited to attend compliments of our sponsor, Great American Insurance Group.

The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

  1. Presentation and discussion of new qualifications of membership for HBA Builder Members
  2. Presentation of a new benefit of membership: Legal Hotline
  3. Presentation by Great American Insurance Group of the HBA of Greenville Builders Risk Program
This event is open to Builder members and invited guests only.
A note to our Associate Members from Michael Dey, Executive Vice President: your HBA of Greenville has not held a Builder-only meeting since 2007.  It is not our plan to make these meetings a regular occurrence.  However, we have several items of business we need to discuss with our Builder members that necessitate this meeting.  I would like to thank Great American Insurance Group for sponsoring the breakfast and offering our Builder members a discount program for their Builders Risk Insurance needs that is exclusive to members of the HBA of Greenville.

EPA Issues Fines for Lead Violations

Two window replacement contractors recently agreed to pay civil penalties totaling over $50,000 in administrative actions taken by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to provide the agency’s “Renovate Right” brochure to “at least 37” residents and property owners prior to the completion of services rendered.

In both cases, the companies were cited for failing to distribute the brochure as required rather than for ignoring specific steps and measures for containment and clean-up mandated by the EPA. Both cases involved a paperwork audit.

Eleven states are now administering their own audits. According to a source at the EPA, the agency has yet to take legal action against contractors for specifically violating the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) containment and clean-up rules.

A press release regarding the mentioned legal actions, posted to the EPA’s website, fueled speculation that the agency may be stepping up audits and possibly even on-site inspections in connection with RRP enforcement.

Check for Lead, a Florida-based online supplier of materials for contractors involved with lead-safe renovation, launched a website in which contractors seeking information about EPA audits in their area may view a map that flags locations where EPA audits can be verified as having taken place and gain insight from those who have already gone through the audit process themselves. To see Check for Lead’s map, click here. To date no enforcement actions have been verified in South Carolina by the website.

NAHB member benefit: legal advice, at no cost to members

Did you know that as a member of your Home Builders Association you can receive legal advice from NAHB’s team of lawyers, free of charge?

The NAHB Legal Research Program does not replace your local attorney, but it will provide you with an understandable response to your legal question – fast – often the same day of your inquiry – saving you time and money.

Through NAHB you have access to a computerized database containing over three million court opinions, numerous legal publications, plus all federal and state statutes. This is an important NAHB benefit, available FREE for all members and affiliates.

Click here to access NAHB’s Legal Research Program. You must be logged into NAHB’s website to access this service. Contact us at info@HBAofGreenville.com if you need your log on credentials.