Right-to-work Missouri Money Man Caught Up in California Court Fight

Dec. 18, 2017 - We don’t hear much about him here in California, but David Humphreys has established a nice little right-wing reputation for himself out there in Missouri for his huge campaign contributions to support candidates who want to kill unions.

It should make progressive Californians happy, then, to know that Humphreys has a legal headache on his hands in Sacramento, where he’s been hit with two federal lawsuits, one of them of the class-action variety.

Humphreys over the past two years has contributed $17 million to political candidates in Missouri who favor “right to work” laws designed to reduce pay and benefits to workers by inhibiting the ability of unions to represent them. He has so displeased organized labor in Missouri that unions there have launched a boycott of his Joplin-based company, Tamko Building Products.

Some of Humphreys’ customers probably wish they knew about the boycott before they put new Tamko roofs on their homes.

Class-action plaintiff Jeffrey Snyder of Sonora is one of them. He charged in the Sacramento lawsuit that the Tamko roof over his home sprung a leak in eight years, in spite of a warranty that guaranteed it for 30 years.

When he filed a claim, Snyder said the Tamko rep reacted in a “hostile” fashion, according to his lawsuit. Snyder said he had to spend $12,000 on a new roof, “an expense he should not have had to incur for another two decades,” his lawsuit said.

Snyder’s complaint quoted several other internet postings from other Tamko customers who sounded off with their dissatisfactions:

“These shingles are the worst I have ever seen and I was married to a roofing contractor,” one customer wrote.

“I have literally had to re-install almost half my roof in the past five years,” said another after the new roof shingles failed to seal. “I am just biding my time until I can install metal. Note: never buy this product!”

“My 25 year warranty on these ‘upgraded’ Tamko shingles is apparently worth nothing!” wrote a third. “The shingles are curling and look awful.”

“We had a 30 yr. roof installed on our home 10 years ago!” a fourth customer exclaimed. “We have been having trouble with this roof for the last 3 ½ years. (L)eaks and water damage!”

The Snyder case was joined with another plaintiff from Hartford, CT, and was filed “on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated.” The case is pending in front of U.S. District Court Judge Troy L. Nunley.

A second lawsuit filed against Tamko by a Truckee couple got booted two years ago when Nunley ruled that the plaintiffs had to submit to arbitration.

Interestingly, the U.S. Supreme Court refused earlier this year to hear a case brought by Humphreys’ company when an appellate court in Missouri did not compel arbitration on a lawsuit filed against Tamko by two customers – including the Jonesburg, MO., United Methodist Church – when their roofs went bad.

Humphreys took his defeat like a . . . snowflake.

He called Missouri’s “trial lawyer-friendly courts” the “No. 4 judicial hellhole in the U.S.,” according to his hometown newspaper, the Joplin Globe. As a consequence, the paper quoted Humphreys as saying, Tamko “will need to reconsider our presence in Missouri versus other states.”

Poor guy.

Mike Louis, the president of the Missouri AFL-CIO, had this to say about Humphreys’ threat to split:

“For the working people who are poised to suffer the loss of wages and negotiating power under Humphreys’ bought and paid for ‘right-to-work’ law, the only questions I have are, ‘When will he leave?’ And, ‘Can I help him pack?’”

                                                                                  --Andy Furillo

 

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