Gibbs Law Group LLP has filed three federal class action lawsuits against Lumber Liquidators alleging the company deceived consumers when it manufactured and sold laminate wood flooring that emits potentially harmful amounts of noxious formaldehyde gas. The Lumber Liquidator lawsuits were filed following a 60 Minutes report exposing the results of formaldehyde testing performed on the company’s Chinese-made laminate flooring.
Read a copy of the complaint.
Lumber Liquidators Lawsuit: Settlement Reached
A settlement has been reached on behalf of purchasers of Lumber Liquidators products. The parties agreed that Lumber Liquidators would pay $22 million in cash and $14 million in store-credit vouchers to settle all claims on behalf of purchasers of Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators between January 1, 2009 and May 31, 2015. To learn more, visit the settlement website.
CDC: Cancer Risks Three Times Higher than Estimated
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on February 22, 2016 that it previously miscalculated the amount of formaldehyde emitted from some of Lumber Liquidators’ laminated flooring products. The CDC stated that the risk of cancer from this formaldehyde emission is three times higher than it previously estimated. The CDC previously announced that the risk of cancer presented by the Lumber Liquidators products was two to nine cases per 100,000 people. The CDC now believes that the risk is six to 30 cases per 100,000 people.
The CDC strongly recommends that customers who purchased Lumber Liquidators’ laminated flooring take steps to reduce exposure. Its fundamental recommendations to customers of these products remain the same: to open windows, use exhaust fans, and avoid smoking in the home, among other things. It released a flyer outlining general health issues and solutions related to the flooring.
LL Flooring Violates CARB Emissions Standards
Certified laboratory testing performed on laminate wood flooring purchased from Lumber Liquidators locations in Virginia, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and New York revealed levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, that exceed those permitted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Formaldehyde Emissions Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which will take effect nationwide this year.
According to this testing, certain laminate flooring samples contained up to 20 times the legal level of formaldehyde. The 60 Minutes report indicates that these extreme levels of formaldehyde raised concern among laboratory employees, who suspected that their testing equipment may be faulty.
Lumber Liquidators Pulls Flooring from Stores Nationwide
On May 7, 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. is pulling all of its Chinese-made laminate flooring and has brought on a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director to review its sourcing procedures amid widespread concern over the safety of its products.”
Despite Lumber Liquidators’ “Quality Guarantee” indicating that its “flooring meets or exceeds rigorous emissions standards such as California CARB,” it is illegal to sell the company’s Chinese-made laminate flooring in California, where environmental emissions standards are particularly stringent.
The following types of Lumber Liquidators lumber may contain excessive and illegal amounts of formaldehyde:
- 8 mm Bristol County Cherry Laminate Flooring
- 8 mm Dream Home Nirvana French Oak Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Antique Bamboo Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home St. James Oceanside Plank Bamboo Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Warm Springs Chestnut Laminate Flooring
- 15 mm Dream Home St. James Sky Lakes Pine Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Ispiri Chimney Tops Smoked Oak Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Imperial Teak Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home St. James Vintner’s Reserve Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Cape Doctor Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home St. James Cumberland Mountain Oak Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Ispiri Americas Mission Olive Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Glacier Peak Poplar Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Golden Teak Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Handscraped Imperial Teak Laminate Flooring (SKU 10029601)
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Handscraped Summer Retreat Teak Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Sandy Hills Hickory Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Tanzanian Wenge Laminate Flooring
- 8 mm Dream Home Nirvana Royal Mahogany Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home St. James Blacksburg Barn Board Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home St. James Brazilian Koa Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home St. James Golden Acacia Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Ispiri Poplar Forest Oak Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Fumed African Ironwood Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home St. James African Mahogany Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home St. James Chimney Rock Charcoal Laminate Flooring
- 12 mm Dream Home St. James Nantucket Beech Laminate Flooring
Other types of Chinese-made laminate sold at Lumber Liquidators may also be affected.
Lumber Liquidators Reaps Profits from Laminate
60 Minutes has reported that Lumber Liquidators has made large profits from the illegal sale of its potentially dangerous flooring products. It is estimated that producing laminate flooring tainted with formaldehyde and which is not CARB-compliant cuts manufacturing costs by up to 15%, an enormous margin for a company of its scale. In 2013, Lumber Liquidators’ stock price nearly doubled. At present, Lumber Liquidators is the largest and fastest-growing retailer of hardwood flooring in North America. The company has sold approximately $200 million or more in laminate wood flooring products annually since 2012.
Following news of its formaldehyde-containing flooring, however, LL stock plummeted 25%.
Formaldehyde Emissions Pollute Air Indoors
According to news reports formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing chemical linked to the development of leukemia; nasopharyngeal cancer (cancer of the upper portion of the throat); change in lung function; chronic respiratory irritation; and eye, nose, and throat irritation. 60 Minutes has reported that the danger of formaldehyde in flooring products is particularly acute, as the chemicals escape from laminate wood and permeate the air in rooms and entire homes, creating polluted indoor conditions as per the Environmental Protection Agency.
Though the formaldehyde-containing laminate flooring may not produce symptoms in everyone, it will produce the most severe symptoms in children according to 60 Minutes.
Formaldehyde's Use in Laminate Wood Manufacturing
A certain amount of formaldehyde is present and legally permissible in laminate flooring manufactured by Lumber Liquidators in America, and by other companies.
Laminate wood flooring is a cheaper alternative to hardwood flooring, and is manufactured by binding wood particles together with glue often containing formaldehyde, and then covering the particles with a layer of protective laminate. News reports have stated that the layer of laminate may prevent a certain amount of formaldehyde from escaping from the wood and into the environment.
Gibbs Law Group is a California-based law firm committed to protecting the rights of clients nationwide who have been harmed by corporate misconduct. We represent individuals, whistleblowers, employees, and small businesses across the U.S. against the world’s largest corporations. Our award-winning lawyers have achieved landmark recoveries and over a billion dollars for our clients in high-stakes class action and individual cases involving consumer protection, data breach, digital privacy, and federal and California employment lawsuits. Our attorneys have received numerous honors for their work, including “Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California,” “Top Class Action Attorneys Under 40,” “Consumer Protection MVP,” “Best Lawyers in America,” and “Top Cybersecurity/ Privacy Attorneys Under 40.”
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