Owens Corning has been sued in a class-action lawsuit over its Firestone Heritage shingles used for roofing, which has allegedly caused house fires. The Owens Corning siding and shingles were installed on hundreds of thousands of homes across North America.
The owners of the homes with the defective shingles claim that the shingles caught fire and spread along the roofline, causing extensive damages to their homes. The claims are that there was a defect in Owens Corning’s design of these shingles, which led them to reflect sunlight from their ceramic granules onto the asphalt strip below and cause intense heat. The shingles, called “combination” or “combo” shingles, were able to catch fire because of the sunlight reflecting off their granules and onto the asphalt strip.
The homeowners claim that Owens Corning was aware of the problems with their shingles in 2000 but continued to market them for sale. In 2002, Owens Corning was investigated by the U.S. International Trade Commission and found to have violated the trade laws of Turkey by selling defective shingles into that market.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for homeowners who owned these shingles and suffered injury from fires caused by the defective shingles. The homeowners are not asking for a specific amount in damages but claim that their homes’ aggregate loss is worth several million dollars.
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The trial against Owens Corning started on June 30, 2009, in Cleveland, Ohio. The outcome of this case could affect thousands of homeowners who have experienced problems with Firestone Heritage shingles or have had to spend money on the expense of re-roofing their homes.
Owens Corning is one of the most significant home insulation and roofing products suppliers in North America, with over $3 billion in revenue for 2007. The shingle division accounts for around $500 million per year.
Common complaints about this brand of shingles are that they are defective and easily catch fire. The ceramic granules, which have been the focus of the protests, are responsible for reflecting sunlight onto the strip below. This intense heat can cause a fire through dry grass or other combustibles on the roof, such as leaves or needles from evergreens.
This is not an issue with all roofing shingles, and Owens Corning claims to have corrective measures for the problem. However, homeowners should be aware of the risks involved with this type of shingle when deciding what kind of roofing material to install on their homes.
Owens Corning is a full-line manufacturer that also manufacturers cellulose insulation, vinyl siding, and roofing shingles.
Some of the company’s products are marketed under the brand names Owens Corning, AttiCat, CertainTeed Shingle (Owens Corning), Classic Roof (Owens Corning), Fiberglass (Owens Corning), Firestone Roofing (Owens Corning), Owens Corning (CertainTeed Shingle Company), Owens Corning Asphalt Shingles, TruSlate Roofing Systems (Owens Corning).
Owens Corning is headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, and has manufacturing plants throughout the United States. The company has a product line based on two primary sources: cellulose insulation made from recycled newspapers and fiberglass.
Owens Corning was named one of ENR Magazine’s Top 225 International Contractors in 2007 for work done at the Faslane Peace Facility in Scotland and the BP Texas City Oil Refinery Expansion Project. The company has also received several awards for excellence in safety and environmental performance and awards for quality. In 2005, Owens Corning was named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For in America.”
Owens Corning has had problems with their shingles catching fire after they were installed on roofs. Complaints have been filed by homeowners who have experienced fires erupting on their roofs immediately after installation or within a few months.
Owens-Corning is being sued by several homeowners who claim that they have lost their homes due to the shingles catching fire because of these faulty products.
In 2002, Owens-Corning settled a lawsuit with South Carolina homeowners who had experienced defective shingles problems. The company is still involved in cases from homeowners who have experienced issues with these products after 2002.
Owens Corning’s proposed settlement involves the replacement of 17,000 defective shingles that were sold to homeowners in South Carolina between January 1998 and June 2000. They would receive $2 per square foot for a combined total of $34 million.
Additionally, Owens Corning would offer to assist homeowners in removing dangerous shingles from their homes and would provide a 50 percent reduction on labor costs for future roof repairs for up to ten years after replacing the shingles. Furthermore, they have agreed to continue paying all homeowner’s insurance premiums for a year.
This settlement, however, would require homeowners to give up their rights to future litigation against the company in exchange for these concessions. A federal judge must approve the agreement before it can go into effect.
Owens Corning has also agreed to settle with homeowners in other states who have brought claims against Owens-Corning for faulty shingles.
Due to a lack of asbestos in the shingles, Owens Corning was able to market these products for use on homes built after the 1970s when asbestos began to be banned from construction materials because it has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma. However, in 2003, some researchers discovered that the shingles might be a danger to homeowners.
Cellulose insulation, made of recycled newspaper and contains boric acid, proved to be flammable when exposed to high heat in laboratory tests by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). This information became public after Owens Corning began receiving complaints from homeowners who had experienced fires erupting on their roofs.
The company then fought to keep these documents under wraps but forced the NRCA to release them in 2004. The NRCA was able to obtain them because they are a defendant in several lawsuits against Owens Corning. It is believed that Owens Corning’s research department learned about the flammability of cellulose insulation as early as 1990 but never released the information.
It is uncertain why Owens Corning failed to notify the public of these risks, which may have contributed to the growing number of lawsuits brought against them by homeowners who claim that their homes have been damaged or destroyed due to fire caused by faulty products.