Contractors Fight Unfair Lawsuits, Utilities

August 4, 2002
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The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCC) announced that the PHCC of Nevada is continuing its fight against unfair construction defect lawsuits that it says are affecting the availability of liability insurance in the state.

The state group recently contributed $50,000 toward a new Coalition for Fairness in Construction to reform Chapter 40 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. The proposed reform would define what a construction defect is. It also would obligate contractors to repair any defects found.

Members also participated in a July hearing on the effects construction defect lawsuits have on the insurance industry in Nevada. Before the hearing, members wrote letters to the Insurance Commissioner about the unavailability of liability insurance.

PHCC Nevada members also will compile “horror stories” about their treatment within the current system; these stories can then be used in lobbying efforts.

Meanwhile in Montana, Carl Schweitzer, state executive manager of the Montana PHCC, arranged a breakfast with Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) to discuss concerns about fair competition between small-business contractors and utilities.

Schweitzer explained the concerns on the state level and sought the senator’s support for legislation supported by PHCC on the re-authorization of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Along with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), PHCC said it wishes to provide the FTC with the jurisdiction to investigate and enforce penalties against utilities that engage in cost-sharing or cross-subsidization (using rate payer assets to subsidize entrance into other unregulated businesses).

Publication date: 08/05/2002

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