Lawyers in our firm have filed a class action lawsuit against Lumber Liquidators, Inc., for selling floors containing toxic chemicals. The suit alleges that the Virginia-based flooring retailer resells laminate flooring products manufactured in China. The laminate floors emit dangerously high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen according to the American Cancer Institute. Dr. Philip Landrigan, a professor of preventive medicine and pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, confirms that emissions from Lumber Liquidators’ laminate floors are “not a safe level.” Long-term exposure to such levels increases the risk for chronic respiratory irritation, lung function changes, and asthma, especially for those more at risk, such as children, says Landrigan.
Problems with Lumber Liquidators’ floors came to light in a recent 60 Minutes investigation, which found elevated levels of formaldehyde in all but one of dozens of flooring samples tested. 60 Minutes correspondent Anderson Cooper traveled to China to visit manufacturing facilities and talk to employees, who revealed the floors contained dangerous levels of formaldehyde. The news program’s report led the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to launch an investigation into the safety of Lumber Liquidator’s laminate flooring products.
In April the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would seek criminal charges against Lumber Liquidators for violating the Lacey Act, a conservation law that prohibits imports of products from illegally logged woods. It has been reported that Lumber Liquidators imports wood illegally harvested from protected forests in the Russian Far East.
On May 7, in the wake of the CPSC and DOJ probes as well as consumer and investor lawsuits, Lumber Liquidators suspended sales of its Chinese laminate flooring. The company announced it has hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to lead an internal review of its products and suppliers, and to advise it on compliance issues. Since March, the company has offered thousands of home air quality test kits to customers, although these kits have been criticized as providing inaccurate or misleading results. The following Lumber Liquidators laminate floor models may contain impermissibly dangerous levels of formaldehyde:
8mm Bristol County Cherry; 8 mm Dream Home Nirvana (French Oak and Royal Mahogany); 12 mm Dream Home Isipiri (Americas Mission Olive, Chimney Tops Smoked, Poplar Forest Oak); 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor (Antique Bamboo, Cape Doctor, Fumed African Ironwood, Glacier Peak Poplar, Gold Teak, Handscraped Imperial Teak, Handscraped Summer Retreat Teak, Sandy Hills Hickory, Tanzanian Wenge, Warm Springs Chestnut); and 12 mm St. James (African Mahogany, Blacksburg Barn Board, Brazilian Koa, Chimney Rock Charcoal, Cumberland Mountain Oak, Golden Acacia, Nantucket Beech, Oceanside Plank Bamboo, Vintner’s Reserve, and Sky Lakes Pine).
The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking criminal charges against Lumber Liquidators Inc., for violating a conservation law in connection with the imported wood flooring products discussed above. Lumber Liquidators said in its quarterly report, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that the DOJ indicated that it is seeking criminal charges under the Lacey Act, a conservation law that prohibits import of products made from illegally logged woods. The company said it has set aside $10 million, “our best estimate of the probable loss that may result from this action,” according to the filing. We learned as the Memorial Day weekend approached that Bob Lynch, the CEO of Lumber Liquidators has resigned without warning. This came as a huge surprise.
For further information on the Lumber Liquidators litigation, contact Clay Barnett (Clay.Barnett@beasleyallen.com), Archie Grubb (Archie.Grubb@beasleyallen.com), or Andrew Brashier (Andrew.Brashier@beasleyallen.com), lawyers in our firm’s Consumer Fraud and Commercial Litigation Section. You can also call these lawyers, who are handling this litigation for our firm, at 800-898-2034.