The Indianapolis News

Keep record of home siding problems

Excerpt of column by:

Herman Hoglebogle


I read your article July 24 concerning the verdict against Masonite Corp. with interest. I have the problem with siding on my 7-year-old house rotting, cracking and deteriorating that your story talks about, which on a house this new, shouldn't be happening. I hope you can tell me whom to contact to be included in the class action lawsuit in Alabama.



You must be talking about the class action suit in which a Mobile County, Ala., Circuit Court jury found that hardboard siding produced after 1980 by Masonite Corp. is defective. The company said the siding, which looks like wood, was used on 4.3 million homes. Masonite parent International Paper Co. said it doesn't expect to pay out more than its legal reserve of $ 150 million under the settlement. But plaintiffs' attorneys estimated damage at $10,000 per home.

The court will approve an administrator to handle claims under the settlement, which also calls for Masonite to pay plaintiffs' legal fees. The deal will provide homeowners with four to five times what they would receive under the terms of the company's normal warranty provisions, attorney John Crowder of Mobile said.

The lawyers for the case have hired a company to handle complaints. You can call the Masonite Class Action Line at (800) 330-2722 to file your complaint. You'll get a recording and be instructed to enter your name and phone number. The information will be registered in the computer. In a few months, you'll be sent more information on the case and forms you will need to fill out. Until then, you should document the problems you're having with your siding by writing down information and taking pictures, said Richard Doorman, an attorney for the case.

You also have the option of hiring your own lawyer and filing a suit yourself.

Lawyers Involved: