Calif. Judge Says Suit Against Louisiana-Pacific Corp. to Proceed to Trial as a Class Action

A California judge recently ordered that a class action lawsuit against Louisiana-Pacific Corp., alleging that its Nature Guard shingles are defective and that it defrauded homeowners, will proceed to trial as a class action.

Judge William Mayhew of Stanislaus Superior Court in Ceres denied L-P’s motion to decertify the class. The case was brought by Ceres resident Virginia Davis on behalf of some 5,300 homeowners in January 2001. Plaintiffs seek as damages the cost of replacing all of the roofs, estimated to be approximately $100 million, plus punitive damages. Trial is set to begin Dec. 6, 2005.

Plaintiffs allege that the Nature Guard shingles — a cement and wood fiber shingle which L-P manufactured and sold as a replacement for cedar shingles between 1995 and 1998 — are inherently defective, are prematurely failing, and do not live up to the promises L-P made to homeowners in brochures and its 25 year warranty. L-P has denied the allegations. The case was originally certified as a class action in November 2002, and the Court has rejected several prior attempts by L-P to have the case thrown out of Court.

“We are pleased by the Court’s ruling, and look forward to putting our case in front of a jury and finally getting some relief for these homeowners,” said Jonathan Selbin, a partner with Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein LLP, a plaintiffs’ law-firm and co-lead counsel for plaintiffs.

“Mrs. Davis and the thousands of homeowners like her whose roofs are failing are just seeking to hold L-P to the promises it made to them and to get their roofs fixed,” added Clint Walker of Damrell, Nelson, Schrimp, Pallios, Pacher & Silva, also co-lead counsel for plaintiffs.