Class Action: Overstock Falsely Claimed Fiberglass-Loaded Mattresses Were ‘Natural,’ ‘Hypoallergenic’
Watkins v. Overstock.com et al.
Filed: February 19, 2021 ◆§ 1:21-cv-00192
A class action alleges Overstock.com, Jeffco Fibres and Ventex are responsible for a fiberglass-laden mattress falsely advertised as "natural" and "hypoallergenic."
A proposed class action alleges Overstock.com has falsely represented that its “Select Luxury” line of mattresses is natural, hypoallergenic and easy to clean.
Unbeknownst to consumers, the mattresses come with an inner layer of fiberglass, known as a “fiberglass sock,” concealed by an outer zippered cover that customers are not warned against opening, the 35-page lawsuit claims.
The plaintiffs allege that upon removing the zippered outer cover when cleaning their Select Luxury mattress in 2019, they were hit with “a large plume of fiberglass dust” that became airborne within their home and soon thereafter caused significant, lingering adverse health effects for them and their young children, not to mention property damage and substantial out-of-pocket costs.
According to the complaint, the Select Luxury mattresses are manufactured by co-defendant Jeffco Fibres and utilize an inner fiberglass fire retardant barrier sock sold to Jeffco by co-defendant Ventex, Inc. The plaintiffs allege the mattress’s fiberglass component is not discoverable until after the product is bought and used.
The lawsuit says the plaintiffs bought in 2014 a Select Luxury E.C.O Choice of Firmness 10-Inch Natural Latex Hybrid mattress from Overstock.com. Per the case, the mattress was comprised of three components: an inner flammable hybrid foam core, an inner fiberglass fire retardant barrier sock and an outer zippered cover. On its website, Overstock, the case claims, represented that the product was natural and hypoallergenic, an option the lawsuit says the plaintiffs chose specifically given they believed the online retailer’s express representation that the mattress’s properties would be beneficial to those with breathing difficulties.
Despite Overstock’s representations, the “easy-to-clean” latex foam portion of the mattress’s inner core is positioned inside of the fiberglass sock, which itself is positioned between the inner latex core and the outer zippered cover that customers are not warned against unzipping, the complaint says. As the lawsuit tells it, the plaintiffs learned the hard way how dangerous it can be to unzip the Select Luxury mattress’s outer cover.
“The zipper outer cover and information provided to the customer fails to warn against unzipping the outer cover,” the suit reads. “The zippered outer cover in combination with express suggestion to clean the latex core, exposes the customer to danger.”
In November 2019, the plaintiffs attempted to remove the outer zipper cover of their mattress to address “indentations and lumps of an unknown source” that had been causing them discomfort, the case says. According to the suit, the plaintiffs completely unzipped the outer cover of the mattress and flipped it over to remove the cover entirely. Upon removing the cover, the plaintiffs were hit with “a large plume of fiberglass dust” from within the cover that became airborne, covering the individuals and the surfaces of their home, the lawsuit says.
The fiberglass particles then found their way into the plaintiffs’ HVAC system and were subsequently dispersed throughout their entire home, the case goes on, noting the consumers immediately put the zipper cover back on the mattress. Per the suit, the loose fiberglass particles became “thoroughly and irremovably embedded in fabrics, woven, wicker or other similar matrix items throughout the entirety of Plaintiffs’ home, to include clothing, drapery, furniture, carpeting, and innumerable other items.” When the plaintiffs returned to their darkened bedroom thereafter, they noticed fiberglass particles “sparkling” when a small light was turned on, the suit says.
The case alleges the plaintiffs and their two small children experienced acute symptoms from exposure to the fiberglass, including “intense itchiness all over their skin, difficulty breathing, irritation of the mouth, nose and throat, and intense eye itchiness.” As the plaintiffs attempted to remove the mattress from their home, which required dragging the “large, cumbersome, and now contaminated mattress” through the house from their third-floor bedroom, one of the plaintiffs experienced “immediate physical symptoms of nausea and many sessions of prolonged vomiting,” the lawsuit claims, alleging the man also suffered “an extreme acute and debilitating anxiety attack, including dizziness, shaking and crying uncontrollably.” The other plaintiff, the suit says, experienced physical symptoms to go along with “intense stress and mental suffering as she witnessed her husband’s extreme anxiety attack, his uncontrollable vomiting, and her two children struggling with the irritation from the fiberglass.”
The plaintiffs then observed their two-month-old infant bleeding from the nose, the suit claims.
After the plaintiffs “fled” their home, they were displaced from November 25, 2019 through April 30, 2020 due to the fiberglass contamination, and experienced for months lingering health effects, persistent mental strain and exhaustion and ongoing financial and emotional tolls due to the incident, the complaint says:
“The Plaintiffs were forced to repurchase all of their everyday items, as even the clothes on their back were affected by the fiberglass, thus causing them irritation.
In addition to the major psychological damage to their family members and the significant depression, anxiety and mental turmoil that each experienced for months thereafter, the Plaintiffs suffered significant out-of-pocket monetary loss including, but not limited to: the initial stay in a hotel, the prolonged stay in an apartment while maintaining costs associated with their actual home, the costs of their home restoration, the costs of psychiatric care, the costs associated with the kennel and boarding of their pets, the costs associated with an internet provider to allow work from home, the loss of countless articles of clothing, furnishings and personal possessions due to contamination, and the costs associated with replacing indispensable items.
The Plaintiffs experienced an actual out-of-pocket loss of at least $123,733.95, but these expenses continue to accrue and are ongoing.”
With regard to the defendants, the suit alleges the companies fraudulently implied the mattress was safe for use and knew or should have known that representations and warranties of the product were false.
From the complaint:
“The inclusion of fiberglass in the Mattress in the form of a fiberglass sock that was prone to deterioration, a zipper outer cover, and no warning label that the Mattress contained a potentially harmful, non-natural substance presents a product unable to pass without objection in the trade under the description of ‘natural’ or ‘hypoallergenic.’
The Mattress was not of merchantable quality and was unfit and unsafe for its ordinary uses and for the purposes for which it was intended to be used.”
The lawsuit looks to represent all consumers in the United States who bought from Overstock.com a mattress that contained the same components and coverings as the Select Luxury mattress purchased by the plaintiffs.
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Camp Lejeune residents now have the opportunity to claim compensation for harm suffered from contaminated water.
Read more here: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Claims
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