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Case Dismissed: Lawsuit Against U.S. Green Building Council Thrown Out

Henry Gifford's lawsuit against the U.S. Green Building Council has been dismissed by New York District Court Judge Leonard Sands, who ruled there could be no appeal and no further legal action brought by Gifford or the other plaintiffs.

The original lawsuit, filed in November of 2010, accused the USGBC of fraud, false advertising, deceptive trade practices, and unfair competition. The lawsuit was amended in February to include additional plaintiffs, drop the class action claim, and focus only on the false advertising and deceptive trade practices as outlined under Federal and New York law.

The judge ruled that since Gifford and the plaintiffs did not own any LEED property, they could not show that they had been harmed in anyway and "if anything, (Gifford) has been enhanced by the USGBC's position."

"Because there is no requirement that a builder hire LEED-accredited professionals at any level, let alone every level, to attain LEED certification, it is not plausible that each customer who opts for LEED certification is a customer lost to Plaintiffs," wrote Judge Sands.

The judge also dismissed the false advertising claims "with prejudice," which shuts the door on the plaintiffs filing a new suit based on those claims.

Gifford told EBN that he was "pretty discouraged" by the courts ruling, and has grown weary of the time and money involved in the lawsuit.

Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC, said he was grateful that the Court ruled in USGBC's favor so they could "give our full attention to the important work before us."

"We hope that Gifford will continue to lend his voice to the issues that concern him, but the courts just aren't the right place for this," Larry Weinstein, the lead counsel for USGBC told EBN. "His grievance clearly appears to be with how the LEED rating system works, but that has got nothing to do with false advertising."



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