A significant new lawsuit was recently filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, that could have major implications for the entire segment of the design and construction industry that has evolved around the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system ("LEED"). This litigation, challenging the very legitimacy of the LEED designation, is of a different type than the construction disputes described in our earlier Alert, LEED Could Lead to Litigation (July, 2009).
On October 8, 2010, Plaintiffs Henry Gifford and Gifford Fuel Saving, Inc. filed this class action suit against U.S. Green Building Council ("USGBC"), David Gottfried, Richard Fedrizzi, Rob Watson, et al. USGBC is a nonprofit organization founded by David Gottfried and Richard Fedrizzi that trademarked the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system ("LEED") designed by Rob Watson. The putative class members include consumers who paid for LEED certification, taxpayers whose city and state tax dollars have been spent on the costs of LEED certification in publicly-commissioned buildings, and building design and construction professionals who design energy-efficient buildings.
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