Ready for the Bad Guys?

Christina Lewellen
April 8, 2009

As an industry, we're lucky to have snagged a couple of gentlemen by the names of David Toney and Paul Gary. They're lawyers, but don't hold that against them. They've both made careers out of defending window manufacturers in court and, more importantly, trying to keep them out of legal pickles in the first place.

Toney and Gary were at the Fenestration Manufacturers Association meeting last week and gave some good heads up to attendees about smart ways to protect themselves in the current marketplace—especially when it comes to energy performance and green building claims. I've heard Toney speak a handful of times and he spends a good deal of time talking to dealers and manufacturers, "the good guys," about how to keep "the bad guys" at bay. His advice, quite simply, is to shape customers' expectations proactively in attempt to minimize lawsuit risk down the road.

How proactive are you when it comes to making sure you're not inadvertently inviting a lawsuit with your warranty, contracts, brochures or even your Web site? Do I make your skin crawl a little by asking that question? We can all have a good chuckle at the expense of lawyers, but guys like David Toney and Paul Gary have built practices trying to help window manufacturers and dealers avoid pricey legal situations. How confident are you that your legal bases are covered? I'm not inviting confidential information, but I would like to know your general game plan when it comes to lawsuit protection—send me an email to share (confidentially, as always).

My company's approach to lawsuit protection is:
Quite proactive—we're very active in minimizing legal risk
I thought we were covered, but your questions make me wonder
Not nearly as proactive as it should be

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Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at

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