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Chip and Joanna Gaines faced a massive lawsuit after refusing to comply with the government

Highlights

Chip and Joanna Gaines were sued for ignoring EPA regulations when renovating their home on the show Fixer Upper.

  • They agreed to a $40,000 fine and created an informative fixer-upper episode about lead removal.
  • Gaineses also established a lead paint removal program in Waco, Texas, and provided $160,000 to help residents remove lead paint.



Chip and Joanna Gaines gained fame through her DIY show, In need of renovationHowever, Gaines’ Magnolia Company also attracted the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency after Chip and Joanna talked about their company failed to comply with strict rules This led to the first of several major lawsuits worth millions in the years to come.

The first season of In need of renovation was a success for Chip and Joanna. But when the EPA got wind of how the homes were being remodeled, the agency stepped in, jeopardizing the couple’s business and the show’s newfound success. For this reason, we’re going to look at why Chip and Joanna Gaines faced a massive lawsuit for refusing to follow government orders. Why also Chip and Joanna had to do an information episode of In need of renovation to settle the lawsuit is being investigated, and why the two even took an additional step to Establishment of a lead removal program in Waco, Texas as well as.



Chip and Joanna Gaines were sued by the EPA over lead abatement practices

When Chip and Joanna began renovating houses in Waco, Texas, they were I was unaware of the laws that applied to remodeling homes built before 1978. As a result, every house they renovated In need of renovation and even before that, Violation of the Lead Remediation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rules of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The TSCA and RRP rules contain specific requirements that must be followed to ensure the safety not only of those renovating the home, but also of those who will live in it afterward. Because homes that Lead-containing paint that is stirred up during renovation can lead to the inhalation of small particles. If this happens, after the Cleveland Clinic, Serious health problems can occur. These health problems include:

  • Seizures
  • high blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Learning difficulties
  • Death


In 2015, the EPA found that there were 33 homes on In need of renovation that did not appear to comply with the TSCA’s RRP rule. Since Joanna did not go to design school and Chip did not study construction, the couple did not know all the details of the home renovation. For this reason, Chip and Joanna were involved with Magnolia Companies sued for five counts each on the houses that appeared on In need of renovation, regardless of whether the homes were still owned by those for whom the home was renovated or whether the home was sold after the renovation. The charges for which Chip and Joanna were sued include:


  • Obtaining EPA certification before starting renovation work
  • Engaging a certified renovator to carry out and supervise the renovation work;
  • Providing homeowners with a brochure on the dangers of lead-based paint
  • Installing signs demarcating the work area to keep out people who are not authorized to work in that area
  • Comply with the RRP Rule’s work practice standards
    • Closing doors and windows to work areas,
    • Covering open floors and channels with plastic film
    • Cover the floor with plastic sheeting to catch any paint chips that fall during renovation work.

The The EPA had originally sought $795,080 for 187 fines imposed before 2015. as a result of non-compliance. However, after they have shown good faith commitment to correct their errors, Chip and Joanna had to pay a fine of $40,000.

After the agreement was reached, a spokesperson for Magnolia Homes sent out a statement.

“Shortly after Magnolia Homes was first contacted by the EPA three years ago, the company immediately took steps to bring its activities into compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act.”


The statement continued: “To take its commitment a step further, Magnolia Homes has also decided to implement a compliance management program that includes an enhanced renovation documentation checklist for Magnolia Homes employees and subcontractors.”

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Although Chip and Joanna addressed the issues raised in the lawsuit, they still had to meet additional requirements to reach a settlement with the EPA, and failure to meet those requirements within a certain time period could have resulted in additional penalties.

Other requirements that Chip and Joanna Gaines had to meet to settle the lawsuit with the EPA

The fine from the EPA was quite hefty for Chip and Joanna, as they were working to create a brand for themselves. But it wasn’t just money that had to be handed over to the government to settle the lawsuit. The couple also had to use their celebrity platform to spread the word about the Importance of compliance with EPA rules when it comes to removing lead paint from homes.


For the first phase of compliance with the terms of the settlement, the EPA,a special In need of renovation Episode was filmed. In this episode, a segment was filmed where Chip talked about why having a professional remove lead paint is important and what safety measures can be taken when removing lead paint from the home.

In addition, at the end of the episode, Chip reiterated the importance of proper lead paint removal to ensure that the message is heard by fans of In need of renovation.


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As soon as the audience In need of renovation was addressed, Chip then had three months to put together an independent video on social media through Magnolia Companies to discuss the importance of complying with EPA standards related to the RRP Rules. The company was also required to provide the RRP Rule on its website for visitors to the Magnolia Company page so that lead paint could be properly removed in Waco and elsewhere.

Chip and Joanna Gaines have launched a lead paint removal program in Waco, Texas

A significant portion of Waco’s homes were built before 1978. This means that the homes that have not been renovated still have lead-painted walls, which can make residents sick if holes are drilled into the walls to decorate or remove paint chips from the walls. While not all residents know that lead paint can make them sick, some who do know do not have the financial means to do lead paint removal. For this reason, Chip and Joanna have set up a fund to help those who need financial assistance to remove the lead paint from their homes.


Chip and Joanna have set up a fund with $160,000 to help Waco residents clean up lead paint. Instead of paying the nearly $800,000 fine that the EPA had originally demanded, Chip and Joanna were able to The total amount of their fines is $200,000.

The EPA was pleased with the settlement because Chip and Joanna would be doing something good for the people of Waco, and said so in a statement after the case was closed.

“With this settlement, Magnolia is taking safeguards to ensure the safety of its renovations and is making a significant contribution to protecting children and vulnerable populations from exposure to lead-based paint.”


It is not known how many people have taken advantage of the lead paint removal fund Chip and Joanna set up. What is known, however, is that the duo has learned their lesson when it comes to doing renovations by code. If there are questions about lead paint or other substances that need to be removed, Chip is the first to get someone on the phone and do an inspection, as one might once or twice on In need of renovation.

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Had Chip and Joanna not been in the spotlight, the EPA likely would never have gotten involved given the size of Waco. But because of their celebrity status, the couple did not try to contest the lawsuit. Instead, they used the experience as a learning experience so that others who are in the renovation industry or do it as a hobby know how to protect themselves from the beginning to the end of a project.