Lumber Liquidators, stung by lower sales after discovery that its laminate flooring made in China contains toxic levels of formaldehyde, has suspended sales of the Chinese products. The move is a shift for North America’s largest specialty flooring retailer company, which continued to sell Chinese laminate flooring for two months after a March 60 Minutes segment made public that the products contained formaldehyde, a carcinogen, at levels that exceeded California state guidelines.
The 60 Minutes report prompted more than 100 class-action suits against the company as well as a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) probe. Our firm has a class action complaint filed in the Middle District of Florida. Since the report, the company has shipped thousands of air testing kits to customers. The company made the dubious claim that nearly all tests reported formaldehyde air concentrations that fell within World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. However, feeling pressure from all sides the former company CEO stated:
Despite the initial positive air-quality testing results we have received, we believe it is the right decision to suspend the sale of these product. We will work diligently to meet the needs of our customers and to ensure their satisfaction.
Not long after suspending sales of the contaminated Chinese products CEO Robert Lynch “unexpectedly” resigned. Company founder Thomas Sullivan serves as acting CEO. The company has also recently revealed that it faces criminal federal charges over imported bamboo illegally sourced from protected animal habitats. Specifically, the company disclosed that the Justice Department is seeking criminal charges under the Lacey Act for alleged illegal importation of oak flooring from protected Russian forests. This illegal activity sparked separate lawsuits from environment activist groups.
Clay Barnett, Archie Grubb and Andrew Brashier, from our firm, have joined with Anthony Garcia, a Tampa lawyer, to file a class action in Florida against Lumber Liquidators for unlawfully selling the contaminated wood to unsuspecting purchasers. The Alonso and Guinane families from Tampa, Fla., serve as the class action’s named Plaintiffs. On June 12, 2015, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) transferred the case to the Eastern District of Virginia and assigned Judge Anthony J. Trenga to handle the consolidated class action cases through trial. If you need more information on this litigation, contact Clay Barnett, a lawyer in our firm’s Consumer Fraud and Commercial Litigation Section at 800-898-2034 or by email at Clay.Barnett@beasleyallen.com.
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