The federal court in Northern California joined the growing number of courts with class action lawsuits filed against Lumber Liquidators Inc. alleging its laminate flooring products emit dangerous levels of formaldehyde.
Following a “60 Minutes” report two weeks ago, nearly a dozen class actions have been filed in nine other states and the Eastern District of California.
The Northern District lawsuit filed Friday contends that formaldehyde emissions from some Lumber Liquidators flooring products far exceed the maximum levels allowed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
It accuses the company of fraudulently concealing the alleged defects, violation of federal warranty law and unfair business practices. The lawsuit seeks restitution and damages for the class.
The suit accuses he company of knowing for at least two years that some products made in China for the company contained unsafe levels of formaldehyde.
Formadehyde has been found to pose serious health risks over certain levels. Long-term exposure is linked to increased risk of cancer in the nose, sinuses, oropharyngeal cancer, lung cancer and leukemia. It causes burning eyes, coughing, headaches, dizziness and joint pain.
It is a common ingredient in glue used in the base layer of composite laminate flooring, according to the lawsuit. Laminate wood flooring is generally composed of a base layer of pressed composite wood, particle board or fiberboard. This mixed with sawdust or wood particles bonded together with glue or resin. The base is covered with a veneer that made be a photographic image of wood as a decorative surface, the suit states.
From 2013 to 2014 laboratory testing of formaldehyde emissions in laminate flooring at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Lumber Liquidators found the highest levels were in Chinese-made products sold by Lumber Liquidators, according to the allegations.
The lawsuit represents three name plaintiffs in Fremont, California, New Jersey and Colorado and seeks to certify classes in each of the three states.
Lawsuits have also been filed in Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Carolina, New York, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Indiana.
Case: Ronquillo v. Lumber Liquidators, No. 15-cv-1209KAW