NSF International files suit against CAPA

Jan. 1, 2020
NSF International has filed suit against the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) and CAPA Executive Director Jack Gillis.

NSF International has filed suit against the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) and CAPA Executive Director Jack Gillis.

The NSF suit is in response to an open letter that Gillis, in his capacity as CAPA¹s Executive Director, circulated to members of the Automotive Body Parts Association on July 28, 2010. The suit seeks an injunction and damages for false and misleading statements about NSF¹s Automotive Aftermarket Parts Certification Program and other NSF programs, qualifications and abilities.

According to Robert W. Frayer Jr., director of NSF's Automotive Aftermarket Parts Certification Program and Engineering, Gillis¹ statements were made in an apparent attempt to harm NSF and NSF¹s 65-year stellar reputation for protecting the public health and welfare, and to improperly imply that CAPA is superior to NSF in connection to automobile part verification/certification.

Gillis declined an opportunity to retract his letter and correct the record, Frayer said. NSF International has filed this suit to protect its name, 65-year reputation for protecting and improving public health and safety worldwide, and the integrity of the NSF Mark. The NSF suit alleges unfair competition under 11 USC 1125 (a), common law unfair competition, violations of Michigan¹s Consumer Protection Act, business defamation and injurious falsehood. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division case no. 10-13309.

CAPA is a direct competitor of NSF in the area of automotive parts certification, and while NSF welcomes the competition, the company said the competition must be in compliance with applicable law. NSF said it believes CAPA's false and disparaging comments regarding NSF¹s qualifications and the NSF Automotive Aftermarket Parts Certification program constitute unfair competition under Michigan law.

ABPA Executive Director Stan Rodman wrote this to ABPA members when informing them of the lawsuit, "We do not know what damage all of this legal maneuvering will do to the cause in which we have always professed ­ bringing quality independently produced alternative parts to the marketplace. Those who constitute our audience, especially the body shops and the insurance underwriters, must be looking at some of those entities which have long maintained a presence on the periphery of our industry and wondering why now they would choose to become part of the gang which couldn¹t shoot straight. Regardless, we all must live with the consequences and the first part of any problem solving exercise is to know the situation."

NSF is a not-for-profit, independent, public health and safety organization and a leader in standards development, product certification, education, and risk-management. Founded in 1944, NSF operates in more than 120 countries worldwide and is committed to protecting human health and safety. NSF¹s services include testing and certifying products and writing public health and safety standards.

NSF International is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the official U.S. representative to the International Standardization Organization (ISO). NSF¹s testing laboratories are accredited to ISO Guide 17025, the international standard for laboratory accreditation. NSF¹s ISO 9000, QS 9000 and ISO 14000 management system registration programs are accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board. NSF is one of the largest automotive registrars in the world. NSF launched an industry first, parts certification program for front bumpers, step bumpers, absorbers, rebars and brackets in early 2010, to counter the growing concerns that lower quality parts were being used in the automotive repair industry. NSF¹s Automotive Aftermarket Parts Certification Program verifies that aftermarket auto parts meet rigid safety, quality and performance standards through testing and inspections.

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