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Masonite Hardboard Siding Class Action Settlement Underway

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What is the lawsuit about?
In 1994, Judy Naef and other homeowners filed a lawsuit, called Naef, et 
al. v. Masonite Corp., et al., No. CV-94-4033. The Naef Plaintiffs, who 
own structures with exterior Masonite Hardboard Siding, brought the case 
as a class action against defendants Masonite Corporation and 
International Paper Company (together, "Masonite" or "Defendants") on 
behalf of all individuals or entities owning property in the United 
States on which Masonite Hardboard Siding manufactured since 1980 is 
incorporated and installed.

Plaintiffs seek relief based on theories of negligence, breach of 
express warranties, and fraud. Plaintiffs allege that hardboard siding 
manufactured by Masonite Corporation on or after January 1, 1980, and 
installed and incorporated into commercial and/or rental property and 
residences, will rot, buckle, discolor, deteriorate, and cause damage to 
other structural parts of the buildings into which it is incorporated, 
causing the Class Members to suffer and continue to suffer damages. 
Defendants vigorously deny these allegations and any and all liability 
for these claimed allegations. Defendants further deny that Class 
Members are generally entitled to damages or other relief from the 

On November 15, 1995, the Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama, 
issued an order certifying this action as a class action, defining the 
Class as: all persons and entities owning property in the United States 
on which Masonite Hardboard Siding manufactured since 1980 is 
incorporated and installed. A notice of class certification was 
published, and Class Members were provided an opportunity to exclude 
themselves (opt out) from the class. If you opted out at that time, and 
would like to re-join the Class in order to participate in the 
Settlement described in this Notice, please refer to Section 10.

In August 1996, a Phase I jury trial was held on the issue of whether 
Masonite Hardboard Siding is "defective" as that term is legally defined 
by the laws of various states. The jury came back with a verdict, 
finding in Plaintiffs' favor under the laws of some states and in 
Defendants' favor under the laws of others. No determination has yet 
been made on the issues of Defendants' liability or the amount of any 
damages. The questions were reserved for a Phase II trial.

The parties have proposed to settle this class action. This proposed 
Settlement is a compromise of disputed claims and is not to be taken as 
an indication of liability or that damages have been, or would be, found 
against Defendants if the action proceeded.

What is Masonite Hardboard Siding?

Masonite is a leading manufacturer of a product made from wood fiber, 
wax and resins that is widely known as hardboard siding. Masonite siding 
is distributed both in lap (board) and panel (sheet) applications, each 
available in various external textures designed to look like 
conventional lumber siding. Masonite markets its siding products for a 
variety of external construction uses, including exterior siding for 
residential and other structures. This lawsuit does not concern Masonite 
products used for interior, roof, wall substrate, plywood or deck 
sheathing, or for purposes other than exterior siding. The lawsuit also 
does not concern oriented-strand board (OSB) siding.

For more information contact

Language in the settlement terms indicates that masonite is considered a
product but the terms "strict product liability" are not included.

Submitted by:
Fred Turner
Staff Structural Engineer
Ca. Seismic Safety Commission
1900 K St. #100 Sacramento, CA 95814
916-327-1606 916-322-9476 Fax