Attorneys Discuss Avoiding Litigation, Buying the Right Insurance and MoreApril 12th, 2011 by DWM Magazine
“A lawyer gave a presentation recently on ‘how to nail a window manufacturer to a wall,’” warned Charles Gentry when addressing Fenestration Day attendees last week. That was definitely enough to gain the attention of attendees who said the information they gained on legal issues was extremely helpful (view DWM’s Fenestration Day video for attendee feedback on these and other sessions.)
Gentry and his colleague, Jason Call, with Carson and Coil LLC in Jefferson City, Mo., outlined everything from buying the right insurance to writing promotional materials and warranties. All of these issues are more important than ever as the door and window industry has become a target for some lawyers.
“If you wait until you are sued it will be too late,” said Gentry, who specializes in the fenestration industry. He added that he is seeing a lot of fraudulent representation of products and gave advice on how companies can protect themselves.
“Sometimes a little too much is said about the greenness of a product and sometimes it trips up the manufacturers,” said Gentry.
Buying the Right Insurance
Companies may think that as long as they have insurance they are covered but as Call pointed out it is all about purchasing the right insurance—a crucial factor if a company is ever sued.
“It’s kind of like going to the dentist,” said Call. ”If you don’t go you are taking a risk.”
He pointed out that there are two types of insurance—SIR and deductible—and there is a crucial difference between the two.
“In the deductible, the insurance provider is in control up front if you are sued. With SIR the company has control up front,” said Call.
“Cheapest is not always best,” he added, while stressing to make sure there are no exclusions.
When it comes to warranties, Gentry says, “this is the single greatest shield a company can provide to protect itself.”
“What is most important sometimes is what you are not covering as opposed to what you are covering,” he added.
A sometimes forgotten factor is that the company must pass the warranty to the customer.
“The worst thing that can happen is you have this great document and you don’t pass it on,” he said.
Gentry also explained that express warranties are anything that is part of the sales pitch so companies should be cautious when creating these materials as well.