There seems to be a trend in litigation lately: Lumber Liquidators just can’t keep itself out of the courtroom.
First, it was the formaldehyde issue. Now, the company is finding itself in hot water amidst allegations that its Chinese-made Dream Home flooring is “defective” and “substandard” – and that consumers paid too much for a product that doesn’t work like it should.
The main issue in the suit: Lumber Liquidators’ advertisements that its Dream Home flooring is AC3 compliant. Basically, these are just some fancy words that mean the flooring (allegedly) isn’t as durable as the company claims.
Dan Bryson of Whitfield, Bryson & Mason, who is involved in the litigation, broke it down further for us.
“There’s a scale the industry uses of AC1 through AC5, with AC5 being commercial grade and AC1 meaning the flooring isn’t durable. Lumber Liquidators represented and marketed the Dream Home Flooring as being AC3 compliant, but our testing shows it’s at the AC1 or AC2 level.”
The issue at hand here isn’t just that the company is said to have misrepresented the products. Consumers are reportedly having some real problems with the flooring.
According to the complaint,the flooring’s alleged lack of durability can cause:
- Scratching with normal, everyday use
According to the suit, Lumber Liquidators is blaming these problems on moisture issues, “product abuse,” or even installers themselves. Products named in the suit include the St. James, Nirvana, Kensington Manor, St. James and Ispiri flooring lines.
At this point, the attorneys handling the case have filed a motion to consolidate the suits to a single court in California to help expedite the legal process.
As far as the outcome, this is what Dan had to say: “We hope that the multidistrict litigation will be formed and that Lumber Liquidators will offer everyone having issues with the Dream Home flooring a fair resolution to their problems. They need to be compensated for the flooring that they bought. They expected it to look and wear a certain way, but it doesn’t.”
So, What About that Other Case?
First off, it’s important to point out that, although the cases involving the Dream Home flooring are against the same defendant (Lumber Liquidators), they are completely different from the litigation over the formaldehyde issue. In fact, the Dream Home flooring isn’t even named in those suits. Therefore, any ruling or outcome in these new cases will not affect the class actions that were filed after the 60 Minutes report broke.
As far as the formaldehyde suits go, an MDL has been formed to consolidate all federally filed lawsuits alleging that Lumber Liquidators’ Chinese-made laminate flooring contains excessive levels of formaldehyde. (Don’t know what an MDL is? Read this article.) Basically, all that means is that each of the lawsuits filed over the formaldehyde issue have been transferred to one court, to be handled by one judge. And, hopefully, in a quick and efficient manner.
The last thing notable to happen in the litigation? The plaintiffs had part of an expert rebuttal report excluded, but it’s just a tiny setback in a lengthy journey. Some say, however, that the court handling the formaldehyde MDL is a “rocket docket,” which basically means it’s known for its speedy disposition of lawsuits. So, it’s possible that the formaldehyde litigation could resolve sooner rather than later. But, as we’ve said before, this often isn’t fast enough for those who purchased the flooring.
We don’t know which way the cases will go, but, what we do know for sure is that once a resolution has been reached in either litigation, we’ll post it here.