Brazilian Plywood Manufacturers Circumvent Permanent Injunction with Unqualified Certification Company, Forestwood Industries

In May, a federal court approved a permanent injunction in barring longtime Brazilian plywood certifier PFS-TECO from any further operations. A new plywood certifier named Forestwood Industries has replaced PFS-TECO and threatens to circumvent the permanent injunction and allow the importation and sale of substandard, unsafe plywood from Brazil.

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This week, the U.S. Structural Plywood Integrity Coalition filed a motion for preliminary injunction against Forestwood Industries to stop it from continuing PFS-TECO’s illegal practices.

Forestwood Industries, Inc. out of New York is the only company certifying Brazilian plywood as meeting the PS 1 standard required by U.S. building codes, and its accreditor, the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, Inc., a Maryland company known as A2LA. The Coalition’s motion asks the same Florida court that issued the permanent injunction against PFS-TECO to require A2LA to revoke its accreditation of Forestwood as a plywood certifier in Brazil and to order Forestwood to revoke all PS 1 certificates it has issued to 17 Brazilian plywood mills. Plaintiffs argue that Forestwood does not have the necessary qualifications to certify Brazilian plywood to the PS 1 structural standard.

"In a nutshell, this is a put-up or shut-up moment for Forestwood and A2LA," said Mike Haglund of Haglund Kelley LLP, lead counsel for the coalition. "The publicly available evidence and our investigation show that Forestwood is unqualified to act as a plywood mill certifier under the strict requirements of the PS 1 standard governing structural plywood sold in the U.S. Unless Forestwood can prove otherwise, which we believe is highly unlikely, an injunction should issue within a matter of weeks."

In press releases and emails, the Brazilian plywood industry and U.S. importers/ distributors of their plywood have been minimizing the significance of the permanent injunction against PFS-TECO. As an example, plaintiffs quote the following statement from a wholesaler of Brazilian plywood:

“I’ve talked to several guys in the south FL market what they thought about the injunction. They all think it’s b.s.----they tell me the Brazilian mills already have a new rating agency, F.I.I. [Forestwood], that is going to re-stamp existing panels and stamp future production.”

The two defendants have until June 28 to respond to the motion. A hearing before a federal judge could be scheduled as soon as early July.

The U.S. Structural Plywood Integrity Coalition includes nine companies operating 11 plywood plants in eight states in the South and Pacific Northwest. Combined, these plywood plants employ over 4,500 workers in family-wage jobs.

Attached is a copy of the motion for preliminary injunction.

For further information, contact either Mike Haglund at 503-358-1281 or Gray Skipper at 334-636-4424.

Contacts

Mike Haglund, 503-358-1281

or

Gray Skipper, 334-636-4424.

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