At Home in Berks February 2017 - 29

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Current
NEWS &
events

Commonwealth Court
Dismisses Clean Air Council
Lawsuit

We're kicking off the New Year with tremendous news. On
January 5, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania dismissed the
Clean Air Council (CAC) lawsuit that threatened to mandate accelerated adoption of all model building codes, including the mandate for
fire sprinklers in all homes. PBA's arguments were instrumental in
defeating this frivolous suit.
Technically, the Court dismissed the case without prejudice. That
means that the CAC could refile the case with the Commonwealth
Court if the CAC can allege new facts or theories of law that would
establish standing. Alternatively, the CAC can appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Nevertheless, barring a successful appeal,
the dismissal all but shuts the door on the bulk of the CAC's claims.
Although the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, the court's
language didn't display any appetite to taste this matter again. Near
the end of its opinion, the Court stated (emphasis added):
[T]he causal chain alleged by CAC in support of its challenge is
premised upon a dizzying array of actions taken or not taken by
governmental and nongovernmental actors once RAC issued its
recommendation pursuant to the PCCA, and presumably each time
RAC issues a recommendation in the future, which may impact
actions taken or not taken by CAC members. These allegations
are simply far too remote to satisfy even a relaxed standard of
causation maintained to ensure that the most injurious and widespread government actions can be questioned by the citizens of this
Commonwealth.

PBA's Efforts Contribute to a Big Win
against Environmental Group

Without PBA's effort to intervene, the Court would never have
heard the position of PBA's members. Second, led by PBA's Governmental Affairs leadership, PBA built a war chest to fight this
battle on behalf of the members. The generous donations of PBA
members and industry friends made this win possible. Litigation is
never cheap. Without your contributions, PBA may have struggled to fight this case.
Let's savor this victory. Thanks go out to all those who contributed to the PBA's litigation efforts; without your financial support
the outcome of this decision could have been very different.
Pennsylvania Home Builders are the only advocates that consumers can trust to safeguard the integrity and cost effectiveness
of the construction code. PBA has long been the voice of the residential housing industry and with your continued support stands
prepared to keep fighting these ongoing legal battles.

Background

Nearly eighteen months ago an environmental group based
in Philadelphia, the Clean Air Council, filed suit alleging that
Pennsylvania's construction code adoption structure and process
violated the law. The CAC's complaint raised multiple issues
including a claim that "Act 1," which created the current codes
structure, was legally faulty.
Act 1 (adopted in 2011) was entirely the product of the PBA's
successful lobbying efforts. Among other things, the 2011
legislation removed the residential sprinkler mandate from the
code governing most dwellings and established the current RAC
procedures.

From the beginning, PBA engaged in a furious litigation and
fundraising effort to defeat the suit. First, PBA had to gain specific
approval from the Court in order to intervene in the lawsuit. PBA
was not a party to the original claim. We genuinely feared that the
state agencies might settle the case in a manner that hopelessly
disadvantaged residential construction.

FEBRUARY 2017 AT HOME IN BERKs

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