A Crownsville, Maryland couple alleges in a proposed class action that a chemical treatment made by Koppers, Inc. and used by Culpeper of Federalsburg, LLC have left their deck, and potentially thousands of others, “unusable” due to fungus and rot.
The nine-page lawsuit, filed on August 9, claims that although the companies have guaranteed the chemical treatment would prevent rot and fungus, the plaintiffs’ deck has been rendered unsafe for normal use by both rot and fungus. The case alleges this problem is “incredibly common,” due in part to the fact that Koppers reportedly changed the formulation of its chemical wood treatment in 2004 and given Culpeper has used “inadequate amounts” of the chemical to treat wood.
“Thousands of decks were built in the past ten years using these chemicals and the inadequate treatment level,” the complaint says. “It is, therefore, expected that this problem is wide spread [sic] and thousands of other decks will need to be repaired or replaced.”
Per the suit, Koppers manufactures and sells chemicals and chemically treated wood, while Culpeper is a seller of Koppers-treated wood products doing business in Maryland. The case says the defendants expressly warrant their products as treated to extend the life of wood and protect it against rot, mold and fungi.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ deck was constructed for upward of $145,000 in around September 2009. Upon information and belief, the deck was built using pressure-treated wood treated by Culpeper with chemicals made by Koppers, the case says.
In 2019, however, one of the plaintiffs was walking on the deck when a support beam allegedly gave way, causing her to fall. After the plaintiff’s fall, the deck was inspected and it was discovered that the underlying wood joists were “rotten, decayed, and caving in,” the case says, alleging this condition is tied directly to the defendants’ chemical treatment:
“On information and belief, this condition was caused by a fungus, which rots wood from the inside out, and causes a visible white residue on the wood. Wood that contains fungus is not a safe or stable material for a structure. If the wood used to construct the deck had been properly treated by Cuplpeper [sic] with an appropriate chemical manufactured by Koppers, then the fungus would not have formed on the deck and the deck would be fit for normal use.”
Per the suit, the plaintiffs “ceased use and enjoyment of their deck at that time due to safety concerns.” The lawsuit claims the plaintiffs have incurred more than $75,000 in damages as a result of the use of “defective pressure-treated wood” for their deck.
The lawsuit looks to represent all persons who have decks on their property constructed with wood that has been chemically treated, manufactured and/or sold by Koppers and/or Culpeper; had the deck constructed from on or around January 1, 2004 through the present; and relied on the companies’ express written warranty and legal duty to sell a product free of known or reasonably discoverable defects.
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