Lumber Liquidators being sued over Chinese wood flooring

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Dec 9, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Legal Newsline) -- A proposed class-action lawsuit filed in a Virginia federal court last week alleges that a line of Chinese wood flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators emits "excessive levels" of formaldehyde.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Tuesday. It has been assigned to Judge Anthony J. Trenga.

"Indeed, contrary to Lumber Liquidators' repeated, detailed representations that its flooring complies with strict formaldehyde standards on its product labels, website, and elsewhere, the toxic formaldehyde emissions from the company's Chinese flooring products are multiple times the maximum permissible limits set by those standards at the time of purchase," plaintiffs Donnie Williamson, Melissa Stini and Jennifer Hogencamp wrote in their 53-page complaint.

In 2011, the U.S. National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen." A carcinogen is a substance or agent suspected to cause cancer.

The plaintiffs also allege that the floor is illegally sourced through China from other countries, including Russia, threatening "critical habitat and endangered species."

"Plaintiffs would have paid significantly less, if they purchased Chinese flooring at all, had they known that the products were sourced from endangered habitats and contained elevated levels of the toxin formaldehyde," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs contend their flooring purchases -- all of which were installed in their homes -- are now "markedly less valuable."

They are seeking damages -- for installation and removal costs, remediation costs, restocking fees, loss of use and diminished value -- attorneys' fees and costs, and pre-judgment and post-judgment interest "at the highest rates allowed by law" on the damages awarded.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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