June 2, 2015 — A woman from West Virginia has filed a class action lawsuit against Lumber Liquidators alleging that the Chinese laminate floor she installed has toxic levels of formaldehyde, according to the Insurance Journal.
The woman, Genevieve Baldwin of Wierton, bought “Warm Springs Chestnut Flooring” from Lumber Liquidators. After watching a “60 Minutes” report in March, she filed a federal lawsuit (PDF) in the U.S. District Court of West Virginia.
She accuses the company of falsely marketing the flooring as compliant with state and federal laws limiting formaldehyde emissions. Investigators with 60 Minutes found employees at Chinese mills who openly admitted using core boards with higher levels of formaldehyde to save Lumber Liquidators 10-15% on the price.
Tests commissioned by 60 Minutes and other investigators have found elevated levels of formaldehyde in the floors and in the air of homes where the floors are installed. At room temperature, formaldehyde “off-gassing” from the floors has been linked to health problems.
Last week, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) met in Minneapolis to decide whether to centralize the rapidly-growing litigation into one federal court.
According to an update (PDF) from the company, more than 118 class actions are pending in federal courts in 30 states, with new cases filed almost daily. All of the lawsuits remain in the preliminary stages of litigation. Lumber Liquidators has asked that it be centralized in Virginia, where the company is headquartered and 45 class actions are already pending.
Lumber Liquidators has vigorously defended the safety of their flooring. However, they recently agreed to stop buying Chinese laminate flooring and now buys products from parts of Europe and North America.