connection with the NFPA’s rejection of ESE
draft standard 781, three ESE companies (Heary Bros.
Lightning Protection Co., Inc., Lightning Preventor
of America, Inc., and the National Lightning Protection
Corp.,1 of which the two first mentioned have merged)
sued a lightning protection trade association and
two lightning protection companies (Lightning Protection
Institute, Thompson Lightning Protection Inc., and
East Coast Lightning Equipment, Inc.). The lawsuit,
which was initiated in 1996, contained allegations
of conspiracy, false advertising and product defamation
regarding the advertised improved efficiency of ESE
terminals compared to conventional Franklin rods.
In October, 2003, the Federal District Court of Arizona
summarily dismissed the lawsuit. The dismissal was
largely based on the fact that the ESE vendors presented
no admissible evidence at all to support their claims.
Additionally, the Court granted a favorable ruling
to a counterclaim against the ESE vendors. The ESE
vendors were convicted of falsely advertising the
claimed increase in efficiency of ESE rods in comparison
to conventional Franklin rods.
Significantly, the verdict rejected the ESE vendor’s
claims that their ESE terminals’ compliance
with various ESE standards justified the advertised
expanded zones of protection for ESE devices. The
Court found that the conformance with foreign ESE
standards failed to prove claimed increased zones
of protection for ESE rods. The Court found that the
ESE vendor’s claims are not supported by tests
sufficiently reliable to support those claims and
are therefore in violation of American “truth-in-advertising”