Ready for the Bad Guys?
April 8, 2009
Talk Page 2...
Survey Results for 04/08/2009:
My company's approach to lawsuit protection is:
Quite proactive—we're very active in minimizing legal risk
Not nearly as proactive as it should be
I thought we were covered, but your questions make me wonder
It seems as if the majority of folks consider themselves fairly well protected in the lawsuit realm, but others may have felt a nerve struck on this topic. Forty-five percent of our poll respondents are left wondering if perhaps they need some additional legal protective measures.
One email I received from a dealer representative this week struck one of my nerves. Not in a bad way, but in a thoughtful way. I've heard for years rumblings—or at the very least picked up on tensions—between some dealers and manufacturers. This email I received (printed, in part, below) questions why legal situations often escalate to the blame game and, given that it's coming from a dealer's perspective, it's throwing some darts at manufacturers. I know, I know... sometimes retailers can be just as bad. I get that. But my question from reading this is not who's right, who's wrong or who should really step up and be more proactive when it comes to legal issues. I'm wondering why on Earth we can't foster a little more cooperation in the supply chain? Maybe it's a little naive, but seriously, people, aren't we all on the same side?
Email me and tell me what I'm missing here.
"I know Window & Door’s first obligation, and target market is, North American window and door manufacturers, but there are those of us who are more than just paid shills that ask for an order. Some of us pay attention to the science of our industry, and understand the not-so-complex things that cause rot, mold, and real human injury. It’s not optional any more to understand how to flash windows properly, and it is not optional any more to understand that certain product designs are more apt to rot, leak, and cause real human injury.
We can all stick our heads in the sand, and hire guys like Paul Gary, who I believe to be a sound, legal advocate for our industry, but when we fail as an industry, we need to admit it, pay the price, and, if we’re not out of business, move on with products that don’t cause these real human injuries. Claiming that a client didn’t follow unnecessarily complicated finishing procedures (or, worse, withhold maintenance information vital to a product’s survival without failure) to comply with a warranty’s terms just doesn’t cut it for those of us with a conscience, who make careers out of the window business.
Is every manufacturer doing the right thing? Or plowing profits into legal representation to fight lawful claims? That should have been a question in your column: ‘How proactive are you being in preparing for the possibility of litigation, and, if your entity is clearly in the wrong, are you stepping up to the plate to deal with your failures?’ If not, why not?
I would love to see an article or column in Window & Door about companies that are doing the right things when it comes to products that have failed, are known to fail, which create enormous burdens for distribution channels."
This reader challenges us in his letter to cover a new topic about folks who are doing things the right way. I might just take up this challenge.