A consultant who specializes in energy-efficient heating systems has sued the U.S. Green Building Council, alleging that the Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program monopolizes the market through false claims and anti-competitive behavior. Gifford v. U.S. Green Bldg. Council, No. 10-7747 (S.D.N.Y. filed 10/8/10). Seeking class action certification, the plaintiff charges the council with monopolization by fraud under state law, violations of the Sherman and Lanham antitrust laws, and civil racketeering. He also alleges that the LEED program “is supplanting building codes in many jurisdictions, undermining marketplace competition, and obscuring other building standards that are proven—unlike LEED—to reduce energy use and carbon emission.”

The complaint asks the court for an injunction against the council that would order it “to cease and desist its deceptive practices” and demands compensatory, statutory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees.