South Korean Auto Tint Distributor Sues Again

May 8th, 2019 by Emmariah Holcomb

Sae Han Sheet Co., Ltd (SHSC) a South Korean window film distributor, has filed a lawsuit against Eastman Chemical Corp. (Eastman), Commonwealth Laminating and Coating, Inc. (CLC), SunTek Holding Company (SunTek), 2010 Acquisition Corp., and Eastman Performance Films for compensation for alleged defective window film. SHSC claims one of the film’s principal ingredients were removed, making the film a lower quality, which led its business to lose customers and close. SHSC has filed a first amended complaint and requested a jury trial.

According to the amended complaint, SHSC lost five of its “major customers” as a result of the alleged defective film that totaled $500,000. The half-million dollar price tag prompted SHSC to reach out to the defendants for compensation. SHSC asked for $248,408 from the defendants, which was not provided and allegedly caused a large reduction in its business prior to the company having to close its doors, according to the court documents.

In the amended complaint filed in Federal Court in April 2019, SHSC seeks:

  • Compensatory damages including expectation damages;
  • Punitive damages;
  • The return of remaining products to the defendants; and
  • Consequential damages, legal fees, expert fees and costs.

SHSC claims the defective product line “is visible with small mold-like craters that are visible throughout a sheet of tinting film.” It alleges the apparent defect created an unpleasant appearance, which became a cause for concern once its customers noticed the difference when the product was used on their vehicles.

According to the plaintiff’s documents, one of the defendant’s customers in Germany filed a complaint about the film it received in August 2016. Subsequently, the defendants instituted a new two-step plan. The complaint alleges the first step was to deny any faults with its film, the second was to offer returns if customers signed off on a general release of accepting defective goods, according to the filed complaint.

A New York court judge dismissed a similar lawsuit in 2017 due to SHSC’s failure to state a claim for proceeding with the case. In that first complaint SHSC claimed Eastman wanted to cut costs after it acquired CLC. SHSC claimed Eastman was able to reduce its costs by removing one of the three key ingredients in SunTek automotive films. Although SHSC is an international distributor, it is authorized to do business in New York State, where shipments of the alleged defective window films originated.

Eastman Chemical motioned to dismiss the case due to lack of general jurisdiction or, to have the case transferred to the Western District of Virginia, where the product was manufactured. The first amended complaint was filed in in the U.S. Western District of Virginia District Court, where SHSC is currently seeking a venue for the case.

At press time, Eastman had not yet responded to requests for comment from Window Film

magazine. Check for coverage of Eastman’s response to these claims, once those documents become available.

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