$5 million at stake in class action lawsuit claiming solar panel installation companies lied about electricity cost savings

By Louisiana Record reports | Feb 12, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans brother and sister are the lead plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against a group of solar panel installation companies.

Twyla Torregano, Clement Torregano Jr., and all others similarly situated, filed suit against Sader Power LLC, Sader Power Enterprises LLC and Griswold Power LLC in the U.S. District COurt of the Eastern District of Louisiana on Feb. 7.

Siblings Twyla Torregano and Clement Torregano Jr., who both had solar panels installed on their homes, are the lead plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed against Sader Power, Sader Power Enterprises and Griswold Power who are alleged to have oversold the potential for power savings customers would experience by having solar panels installed on their property. The estimated size of the class action is 2,500.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants engaged in unfair trade practices by advertising in print and television media that their customers would see a savings in their power from the time the solar panels were installed and may eventually no longer get an electric bill. The class asserts that the defendants had a scheme in which they would show a customer’s electric bill before the solar panel equipment was installed and a bill after installation that was one quarter of the cost while the the actual cost savings was really much less than advertised.

The defendants are also alleged to have receive a tax credit of up to 80 percent of the purchase price of the solar panels and then entered into lease agreements with customers for $45 to $50 per month for six years before requiring them to buy the equipment without the benefit of the tax credit at the end of the lease term for $10,000. The plaintiffs claim if they did not purchase the equipment it was removed at the end of the lease period.

The defendant is accused of breaching the Consumer Leasing Act, Unfair Trade Practices Act and unjust enrichment.

Damages in the estimate of $5 million are sought for compensation, statutory damages, restitution, disgorgment of profits, cost of suit, treble damages and attorney’s fees.

The class is represented by Lawrence J. Centola II of New Orleans-based Martzell & Bickford and co-counsel Joshua Rubenstein of New Orleans-based Scheuermann & Jones.

The case has been assigned to U.S. Federal Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon.

Case no. 2:14-cv-00293.

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