As the year comes to a close, now is the time to look back and reflect. A lot happened in the pool and spa industry, with a number of big players making news. Here’s a look back at ten of our most popular headlines from 2013.
1. Major Chemical Producer To Be Acquired On Dec 31, a deal will finalize in which Pool and spa chemical powerhouse BioLab is to be purchased. Toronto-based KIK Custom Products Inc., which joined the industry two years ago, will acquire Chemtura Corp.’s Consumer Products business; BioLab in North America and Bayrol in Europe.
2 Pool Retailer Sued for OT Early this spring, a former employee of Phoenix-based Leslie’s Poolmart Inc. filed a lawsuit against the company. The suit, regarding overtime pay, was filed in California on behalf of Keith Cunningham. The case is currently in arbitration.
3.Paddock Denies Closing Construction Early in the year, rumors circulated in Phoenix saying that Paddock Pools, Patios & Spas in Scottsdale, Ariz., shut down construction around Christmastime in 2012. It was later announced that former Paddock general manager Craig Maggi, along with former investment banker Tom McKee, took over the Phoenix-based company from the private equity firm Lincolnshire Management.
4. Pool Corp Lawsuit In a class-action lawsuit involving mega-distributor PoolCorp and the “Big Three” manufacturers, a judge upheld part of a motion to dismiss, but rejected another portion. This meant that the case would not move forward. The decision was announced in the spring.
5. Big 3’ Revise Warranties Three major pool equipment manufacturers – Hayward Pool Products, Pentair Aquatic Systems and Zodiac Pool Systems – rolled out new warranty programs in November 2013. Plans are designed to encourage DIY homeowners to use certified dealers to install products.
6. Clorox Enters Pool Marketplace The Clorox Co., maker of the iconic brand of household bleach, announced that it will be introducing a line of pool and spa care products in 2014. The company has partnered with KIK Custom Products, a Toronto-based maker of household cleaners, pool and spa treatment products and pharmaceuticals.
7. Zack Cohn Lawsuit Settled In the spring, the parents of Zachary Archer Cohn, settled with all defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit for a total of $40 million. In July 2007, Cohn, 6, drowned in his backyard pool when his arm became entrapped in a drain. This marked the closing chapter of one of the most high-profile drowning tragedies known to the industry, one that resulted in the criminal charging of a pool builder.
8. ADA Compliance Lawsuits In March, disabled veteran David DeBoard Jr. filed 21 pool-specific lawsuits, all class-action, alleging that a number of Indianapolis-area hotels were in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because they did not have accessible pools.
9. Fla Attorney General Sues Nationwide Pools Following an investigation which began this spring, the Florida Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against Nationwide Pools. The suit alleges that the Florida pool builder obtained permits and dug holes in order to receive payments on projects it had no intention of finishing. The 19-page claim also accuses the company of providing fraudulent financing, nonexistent rebates and worthless warranties.
10. Anti- Entrapment Invention Hits Market In August, Pool & Spa News reported that three SVRS pioneers have teamed up to introduce a new product they believe could change the landscape of anti-entrapment equipment. That product, the Pool and Spa Drain ProteKtor, is meant to prevent three of the five types of entrapment.