Lumber Liquidators has agreed to pay $30 million to end a 2014 class action lawsuit in which consumers alleged the company’s Morning Star strand bamboo flooring is uniformly defective and lasts nowhere near as long as its warranted 30-year lifespan. The proposed settlement deal, which is still subject to a California federal judge’s approval, is comprised of $14 million in cash and up to $16 million in store credit vouchers. Payouts from the settlement will be determined in part by how much Morning Star bamboo flooring material was purchased and any damages the claimant incurred.
A hearing for preliminary approval of the settlement is tentatively scheduled for November 14, 2019 in San Francisco. Class action notices will be sent 30 days after the preliminary approval order is entered and the deadline by which to file a claim will be 180 days after these notices are sent, the proposed deal says.
Am I covered by the settlement?
Covered by the settlement is anyone in the United States and its territories who purchased Lumber Liquidators Morning Star strand bamboo flooring for personal, family or household use from January 1, 2012 to the present.
Although only consumers in California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia were initially covered, the settlement has been expanded to allow Lumber Liquidators to resolve all claims nationwide related to its Morning Star strand bamboo flooring through a single agreement, court documents state.
What’s in it for me?
In addition to the $14 million in cash, Lumber Liquidators has agreed to make available $14 million in store vouchers. The settlement document notes that should more than seven percent of class members file valid claims, Lumber Liquidators will pay an additional $2 million in store credit vouchers.
No amount of leftover settlement money will return back to Lumber Liquidators. If the $14 million in cash from the settlement fund is not exhausted after all claims have been paid out and attorneys’ fees, costs, service awards and administration fees have been disseminated, an “additional proportional payment” will be made to all claimants who opted to receive a cash payment. The plaintiffs have proposed to donate any cash remaining in the settlement fund, e.g. in the event that checks go uncashed, as a cy pres award to Habitat for Humanities.
How do I submit a claim?
If and when the settlement receives preliminary approval, those covered by the deal can expect to receive a notice via regular mail and/or email with instructions on how to submit claims. No settlement website was available at the time of this post’s publication.
What else should I know?
Lumber Liquidators issued a statement saying the company was “satisfied to have reached a settlement related to concerns with certain Morning Star Strand Bamboo Flooring.” The company has admitted no fault with regard to the allegations made by the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary settlement approval describes the deal as the result of more than four years of “hard-fought litigation,” including two motions to dismiss, that culminated with mediation following a “complex and substantial” discovery phase.
The settlement comes nearly two years after Lumber Liquidators agreed to a $36 million deal to end multidistrict litigation centered on alleged defects found with the company’s China-made laminate flooring. More information on that settlement, which has been held up by the concerns of objectors, can be found in this handy blog post.