MI WINDOWS AND DOORS, INC. CLASS ACTION
Lucey Law Firm and other MDL counsel settled a class action regarding MI Windows (“MIWD”) for windows which leak. The case was part of a collection of state-wide class actions against MIWD for leaky windows which were consolidated in Charleston, South Carolina for joint prosecution. The windows get/accumulate a residue (crud) line above or below the lift handle. The residue/curd line results from water penetration through Window glazing, as a result of MIWD using “glazing tape” to glaze (waterproof) its windows. The glazing tape prematurely fails, resulting in water penetration through the Window glazing. The windows also suffer from water intrusion at the lower window corners (frame joints) that results in stained (rust or black colored joints) and other leaks. In addition to the premature window failure and leaking, the windows can cause staining of the window stool (the wood sill) and adjacent paint finishes, drywall, or trim. This class action included all MIWD Windows vinyl, aluminum, and composite windows manufactured between July 1, 2000, and March 31, 2010 which relied upon glazing tape to seal the intersection between the glass and the window frame.
The final approval settlement hearing occurred on June 30, 2015. The approved settlement provided repair or replacement of sashes and cash payment of up to $2,500 per home for consequential damages and up to $1,250 per home for prior repairs of consequential damages. The Final Settlement Order can be accessed here.
Class Action Settlement
The deadline to file a new claim was December 28, 2015. No new claims will be accepted. All pending claims are being processed by the claims administrator, Epiq. Communication regarding your claim status will occur directly with the claims office via email or by regular mail. You may also call the claims administrator at 1-888-668-8198 with any questions related to your claim and/or visit the webpage https://www.miwdtapeglazedwindowsettlement.com/.
Additionally, if you missed the deadline to file a claim and/or your windows are foggy, cloudy and/or discolored (“dirty-looking), may be classified as failed insulated glass units (or failed IGUs). Depending on the age and applicable warranty, failed IGUs can be replaced through a direct warranty claim with MI Windows and Doors. Please visit their website, www.miwd.com/support/warranty-info, to make a claim online. You may also call their customer service department at (717) 365-2500. Please take note that accepting benefits under the class action settlement DOES NOT negate your original warranty. Further, the class action settlement leaves warranty rights in place for a minimum of two (2) years, and, unless you accept damage compensation funds, for the length of the original warranty.
Summary of the Settled Class Action
MI Windows were alleged to contain defects that permit leakage which causes residue (crud) lines at lift rails, staining at corner sill joints, and water staining or other damage to adjacent finishes and walls. These defects result in the formation of mineral deposits and microbial growth (residue or curd lines) above or below the lift handle, primarily at the lower sash. Furthermore, Plaintiffs allege that the microbial growth at the residue/crud lines contaminate the airspace within the home. The alleged defect impairs the effectiveness and performance of the Windows and renders the Windows unsuitable for the purposes for which they were sold and warranted. While the residue/crud line is visible upon close inspection (before it becomes overwhelming), the remaining damage to the home may be hidden behind the walls, trim and exterior building components. In many cases, the homeowner may not realize the damage until substantial damage has already occurred. The common symptoms of non-performing windows are the following:
- Visible Residue Line (often black, brown, sandy, or white), usually above or below the lift handle on the lower sash (the part of the window that is opened and closed);
- Staining at the bottom corner(s) of the window frame (the joint where the jamb meets the bottom or sill of the window);
- Water penetration through a horizontal or vertical mullion between the windows (mullions are the joints between multiple windows in the same opening in a wall);
- Water penetration through Window glazing (besides the above problems);
- The appearance of flaking, cracking, and/or chipping on the interior wood of the window opening;
- Water present on sash or stool (sill) after heavy rains; and/or a
- Discolored wall or baseboard under a window.
Plaintiffs’ engineers documented water leakage evidenced by residue (crud) lines at lift rails, staining at lower corner joints, and water staining and other damage to adjacent finishes. Plaintiffs’ experts allege that MI Windows rely upon other sealant materials in or over sill joints to prevent the intrusion of water. However, the resulting joints are incapable of preventing water intrusion over the long term. The weep system is unable to effectively discharge the water which gets into the windows, resulting in water penetration/staining to the interior of the residences damaging adjoining finishes and walls. Additionally, the Windows rely upon foam tape between the glass and the vinyl to prevent the intrusion of water. However, MI fails to install the foam tape in sufficient compression as required or recommended by the sealant tape manufacturer, which results in premature foam tape performance failure; and welded joints and other factors impede the foam tape’s performance. Operation, weathering (i.e. solar radiation and variations in temperature), and moisture saturation accelerates the failure of the glazing tape (adhesive foam). This action seeks to compensate homeowners for the defective windows and damage by making MI Windows and Doors, Inc., pay the cost of replacement of the windows. Below are photos of the types of damage documented by Plaintiffs’ engineers.