CRAWL SPACE DOOR SYSTEMS vs. SMART VENT
CRAWL SPACE DOOR SYSTEMS - Antitrust Lawsuit Against - SMART VENT
Many people asked about our Antitrust Lawsuit against Smart Vent. The best information is in the:
Below are some of the Court's findings:
- Having reviewed the parties’ filings in this case, the Court finds that this matter is ripe for judicial determination.
- Smart Vent controls 90-95% of the flood vent marketplace.
- Over the last eight years, Smart Vent’s gross sales have increased dramatically from $3.6 million in 2012 to approximately $10 million in 2018.
- Smart Vent has also created and uses Risk Reduction Plus Group (“Risk Reduction”), a private flood insurance company that shares the same physical location as Smart Vent, to advise customers to not only purchase Risk Reduction’s flood insurance but also to exclusively purchase Smart Vent’s products.
- Beginning in September 2013, Smart Vent filed a lawsuit against Crawl Space alleging, among other things, that Crawl Space falsely claimed that its flood vents were FEMA and NFIP complaint.
- During the litigation, the court found Crawl Space’s flood vents FEMA and NFIP compliant and dismissed Smart Vent’s claims with prejudice.
- The matter was tried in October 2019, and a jury found Smart Vent liable in damages for making false statements regarding the coverage area and compliance of Crawl Space’s flood vents.
- On July 18, 2019, while the prior lawsuit was still pending, Crawl Space initiated suit against Smart Vent and Risk Reduction (“Defendants”) alleging antitrust violations under § 1 and § 2 of the Sherman Act.
- Crawl Space alleges that through the use of illegal anticompetitive tactics, Smart Vent drove all but two engineered flood vent competitors (Now out of business - USA Floodair Vents, LTD; Vinylast, Inc.; AAA Louvers, Inc.; Ted Shook, d/b/a American Floodvent) out of the marketplace and is now targeting Crawl Space.
- Crawl Space claims that Smart Vent, despite knowing the truth, falsely informed consumers, the general public, surveyors, architects, code officials, and state licensing agencies that competitors’ flood vents were illegal and/or not FEMA or NFIP compliant, and that competitors’ engineers have acted improperly and/or illegally in certifying flood vents.
- Crawl Space claims that Smart Vent provided this false information on the internet, during its training of surveyors in the industry, and by creating, printing, and disseminating at least 10,000 copies of a document that deliberately targeted and mischaracterized Crawl Space’s flood vents as “non-engineered.”
- Crawl Space also alleges that Smart Vent worked together with Risk Reduction to advise customers seeking flood insurance that the products of competitors are “illegal” and/or not FEMA compliant “so as to coerce customers to not only purchase insurance through Risk Reduction but to exclusively purchase Smart Vent products.”