Building products manufacturer CertainTeed Corp. is suing polymer supplier Ravago Americas LLC for breach of contract for allegedly selling a defective polypropylene compound, which was used to make siding from May 2004 though 2011.
The material caused excessive or uneven fading of the siding, according to Malvern, Pa.-based CertainTeed, which says it has paid out more than $1 million to investigate and settle warranty claims to date.
Ravago Americas President and CEO Jim Duffy told Plastics News in an email: "We deny all claims and intend to defend this suit with all of our resources."
CertainTeed is seeking reimbursement of past and future warranty payments along with the cost of materials and time to produce the siding, as well as damages for lost sales and harmed reputation.
A subsidiary of Cie. de Saint-Gobain, which is based in France, CertainTeed filed the lawsuit against Ravago Americas, which is an Orlando, Fla.-based unit of the Luxembourg-based Ravago Group, on Sept. 7 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
In an email, a company spokeswoman said it does not discuss "pending litigation."
Ravago has not filed a response to the suit, according to documents posted online as of Sept. 28.
The lawsuit pits a major building products maker with estimated annual sales of $640 million in North America and $3.4 billion worldwide against the business unit of a family-owned enterprise with 41 manufacturing sites, 230 offices and 5,500 employees in 55 countries.
In the 44-page complaint, CertainTeed says it originally entered into a three-year agreement to buy the compound from H. Muehlstein & Co. Inc., a Norwalk, Conn.-based predecessor to Ravago. The terms were extended several times through 2011. During this nearly seven-year period, Ravago was the only supplier of the siding compound, which the lawsuit describes as a mineral-filled PP in various colors.
Ravago failed to supply material that both conformed with contract specifications and was free of defects, according to the lawsuit, which includes 33 pages of blacked-out contract exhibits.
The lawsuit does not identify the brand or brands of the siding manufactured from the disputed compound, but it targets the specific time from May 10, 2004, through Dec. 31, 2011, saying: "The compound was manufactured in a manner that caused the siding to unevenly and/or excessively fade when exposed to environmental conditions over a period of time."
CertainTeed said a "substantial number" of siding buyers have filed warranty claims and more will likely follow.
"To date, CertainTeed has paid in excess of $1 million for warranty claims and such claims are expected to continue to grow as a result of the nonconforming and defective compound because the fading generally occurs after the siding has been installed and exposed to the environment for a number of years," the lawsuit says.
The suit alleges Ravago failed to refund money spent on the compound and failed to indemnify CertainTeed against damages for lost sales, harmed reputation and expenses related to warranty claims.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones II.
Senior reporter Frank Esposito contributed to this report.