RIA Releases Asbestos Fact Sheets 

Two free fact sheets from RIA address asbestos issues contractors may encounter in the course of their restoration projects. Developed by RIA’s Environmental Council, the sheets are designed to educate contractors and protect them from the consequences of mishandling asbestos-containing materials. 

A more comprehensive version of the fact sheet addresses asbestos-containing materials, health issues, regulations, classes of asbestos work, hazard communication, training, control measures and resources. The abridged version covers health issues, regulations and some training information. Both versions may be downloaded for free from the RIA website, www.restorationindustry.org through the RIA Store.

RIA Convention Update

The International Restoration Convention and Industry Expo will feature an opening keynote address by Chip Lackey, senior director responsible for Vehicle Valuation Services and Claims in the Insurance Practice at J.D. Power, on Thursday, April 10. Lackey will present an overview of the property insurance industry, looking at what really matters to insurers and identifying the metrics and measurements they follow.

Bryan Koon, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, will deliver the second keynote address on Friday, April 11 entitled, “A Big Picture View of Emergency Management.” Koon will explain the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s priorities before, during and after a catastrophe; how restoration contractors can work most effectively with emergency management agencies; what information agencies need in advance from contractors; provide recommendations on credentialing and accessing areas after a disaster; and address what restoration contractors should/shouldn’t do during a major CAT.

Education sessions will cover a wide range of topics including: unique applications of building science for restoration projects; mentoring project managers; forensic perspectives on environmental engineering aspects of property losses; the changing claims environment from the third-party administrator perspective; an update on the Florida ruling involving profit and overhead; and a look at the unique health risks restoration contractors encounter. 

Other events during the convention include networking events; the Expo featuring approximately 130 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and services for the restoration industry; and the RIA Dinner and Awards Banquet, which recognizes the achievements of industry professionals and those who have attained their RIA certifications.

RIA vs. Thermapure Lawsuit Update

In a recent decision, Judge James V. Selna, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, granted a motion to dismiss brought by ThermaPure, TPE Associates, and David Hedman as to the seven patents which have only been the subject of license demands to industry professionals, but not litigation. In asking the Court to not rule on the validity of those seven patents, the Defendants argued that the public records cited by RIA reflected that they had never “accused anyone of infringing any claim” of the seven patents. The Defendants further argued that the public records of their activities did not show that they accused any RIA member of engaging in any infringing activity except as to the ‘812 Patent. Judge Selna agreed and dismissed all patents from the case except for the ‘812 Patent.

For RIA members and the industry at large, this argument by the Defendants removes the threat of litigation, licensing demands, and potential lawsuits on all of the remaining patents owned by ThermaPure, TPE Associates, or Hedman other than the ‘812 Patent. The RIA leadership sees this as a major victory for RIA members and the restoration industry at large. Should ThermaPure, TPE Associates, or Hedman attempt to take action against the industry for any of the dismissed patents, RIA will alert the Court that the Defendants have renewed their demands as to all the patents and thereby put them all at issue for a declaration of invalidity.

To ensure its members reap the benefits of this decision, RIA continues to monitor for any attempt by these Defendants to demand licenses, threaten to sue, or take any other action to enforce any of the dismissed patents.

RIA will continue to pursue its efforts to secure a judgment of invalidity of the ‘812 Patent.