Class Action Suit Against Lumber Liquidators
Law Firms Babbitt Johnson and Weil Quaranta and File Federal Class Action Against Lumber Liquidators in Wake of ’60 Minutes’ Report
WEST PALM BEACH, FL. March 4, 2015 – The law firms Babbitt & Johnson, P.A. of West Palm Beach and Weil, Quaranta, P.A. of Miami and Los Angeles have filed a federal class action suit against Lumber Liquidators for selling Chinese-made laminated wood floors containing dangerous levels of toxic formaldehyde.
Theodore “Ted” Babbitt of Babbitt & Johnson says: “This is the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring in North America. Not only is it an unlawful deception. It is a public danger potentially harmful to thousands, if not millions, of people. These products are illegal.”
The 16-page suit followed a March 1 “60 Minutes” report about the Chinese manufacturer and supplier to Lumber Liquidators labeling the toxic laminate floor as being compliant with “CARB regulations in the State of California,” when, according to independent tests, they exceeded the formaldehyde toxicity limits by six, seven, or even 20 times. CARB is an acronym for the California Air Resources Board, promulgating safety standards adopted federally in 2010, with a completed phase-in scheduled later this year. During the segment, Chinese managers at the factory told an undercover 60 Minutes crew that they knew the products were not CARB-compliant.
“Who knows how many thousands of homes in Florida and the nation have such a dangerous level of toxins in their floors?” said Weil Quaranta partner Ronald Weil, who filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Miami. “This is a public danger. This issue of formaldehyde in Lumber Liquidators products goes back to 2013.”
Said Weil Quaranta Partner John Quaranta: “Falsely labeling these products as compliant is a clear and outrageous breach of warranty. We are dealing with a known toxic human carcinogen. People are living and breathing this product year-in and year-out.”
Formaldehyde can cause cancer, asthma, chronic respiratory irritation and other ailments, including skin and breathing problems, with a significantly greater risk of health problems in children. The lawsuit said: “No reasonable consumer would knowingly purchase a product that is illegal to own or possess. The purchased Toxic Laminate Flooring is unfit for the ordinary purpose for which it was intended. In fact, this Toxic Laminate Flooring is illegal, mislabeled, and economically worthless.” The suit seeks a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages.
The lead class complainant is Joaquin F. Badias, who bought 500 square feet of Chinese-made St. James Collection by Dream Home laminate wood veneer flooring at the Lumber Liquidators outlet at 8785 SW 133rd Street south of Miami. Lumber Liquidators is a Delaware corporation with central operations in Toano, Va. The company posted more than $1 billion in sales in 2014 and more than 350 locations across North America and 22 in Florida.
A June 2013 report from hedge fund analyst Xuhua Zhou on the Seeking Alpha website reported illegal formaldehyde levels in certain Lumber Liquidators products. Those tests were paid for by short-selling hedge funds. The company was soon thereafter a target of broader criticism from environmental activists, saying the retailer knowingly bought millions of square feet of wood originating in protected Siberian forests, home to the endangered Siberian tiger, through a Chinese-owned supplier. Federal raids of Lumber Liquidators’ headquarters followed in September 2013.
This week’s suit lists five causes of action: violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act; unjust enrichment; breach of implied warranty of merchantability; breach of express warranty; and negligence.
Joaquin F. Badias v. Lumber Liquidators et al., U.S. District Court for Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, 15-cv-20876, Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr.
Concerned consumers who purchased the products above should email Kristine@wqmlaw.netor call (305) 372-5352 and ask for Kristine Rodriguez.
For over 50 years, Babbitt &Johnson has earned a national reputation for its representation of the seriously injured and wronged. Learn more at www.babbitt-johnson.com. Weil Quaranta, P.A.,is a prominent Miami trial law firm with a focus on complex trial advocacy and litigation on behalf of businesses and individuals. Learn more at www.weilquaranta.net.
Wragg & Casas Strategic Communications
Cell: (305) 206-5937
About Babbitt & Johnson P.A.
Since 1967, the law firm of Babbitt & Johnson P.A., in West Palm Beach, Florida has been seeking justice for its clients against people and businesses whose negligent behavior has caused serious injury. To find out more about how Babbitt & Johnson P.A. can help, visit www.babbitt-johnson.com or call (561) 375-2841.