WASHINGTON, DC â
The U.S. District Court in New York City has dismissed in its entirety the $100 million lawsuit brought against the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) by Henry Gifford and others. On Aug. 17 it was announced that none of the plaintiffs had alleged, or could allege, any legal interest to be protected by their lawsuit.
In addition, the U.S. District Court dismissed the federal false advertising claims âwith prejudice.â With that ruling, the Courtâs dismissal is final and the plaintiffs cannot file new suits based on those claims. The Courtâs ruling simultaneously dismissed plaintiffsâ state law false advertising claims.
The $100 million suit filed against USGBC last year by Gifford, sought compensatory damages under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Lanham Act (unfair competition), for deceptive practices, false advertising and wire fraud. The suit claimed, among other items, âUSGBCâs monopolization of the market through fraudulent and intentionally misleading representations in the marketing and promotion of their LEED product line, including, but not limited to, false claims that LEED-certified buildings use 25% less energy and achieve CO2 emissions reductions over non-LEED certified properties as well as improved air quality and improved water efficiency.â
Gifford, who is not LEED AP accredited, had claimed âthe LEED rating system is not based on objective scientific criteriaâ and also critiqued a 2008 study from New Buildings Institute and USGBC that is used to support the LEED energy-savings claims.
Commenting on the Court's ruling today, Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC, stated, âThis successful outcome is a testament to our process and to our commitment to do what is right. Thousands of people around the world use LEED because itâs a proven tool for achieving our mission of transforming the built environment. Weâre grateful that the Court found in our favor so we can give our full attention to the important work before us.â
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