Lawsuit against LEED and USGBC evolves

In October 2010, Henry Gifford filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Green Building Council alleging misrepresentation claims against USGBC and some of its individual founders regarding its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. The crux of the suit centers on Gifford’s claims that the USGBC and LEED green building rating system makes false promises about the energy performance of LEED buildings. The original complaint named Rick Fedrizzi, Rob Watson and other individuals as defendants, included misrepresentation style claims and also included monopolization anti-trust based claims.

On Monday, Gifford and the other plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. Unlike the original claims, which included class action claims, the new lawsuit focuses on false advertising and consumer protection act claims. The new complaint drops the anti-trust and class action claims. They also dropped the individual defendants.

Energy performance has been an open sore for LEED that critics have pointed to, from The New York Times poking at the energy performance of a courthouse in Ohio to the USGBC’s own regional case study showing the energy usage was wildly different in performance compared to design modeling in Illinois. USGBC had already pushed through LEED for New Construction 3.0 which shifted credit focus far more towards energy issues than version 2.2.

The plaintiffs may have a difficult time demonstrating that they individually were harmed and have standing to sue. That does not mean that disconnects between energy performance and modeling are not a threat to USGBC. Indeed, the marketplace may present a greater threat to USGBC and LEED maintaining its current preeminence.

Read more in the Washington Business Journal.

Comments

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.