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Lumber Liquidators Lawsuits May be Centralized in MDL


March 16, 2015 — As new lawsuits continue to be filed against Lumber Liquidators, one attorney in California has asked the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate 10 class actions into one federal court.

The judges may decide to establish a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) to centralize the litigation, reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges, and serve the convenience of the parties.

Since the motion was submitted, even more lawsuits have been filed. One of the most recent was filed last week on behalf of a couple from Orlando, and attorneys are seeking class action status, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Lumber Liquidators is fighting back against allegations that they sell Chinese-made laminate wood flooring with toxic levels of formaldehyde. Those allegations went mainstream after a 60 Minutes investigation aired on March 1.

Lumber Liquidators says that 60 Minutes used a so-called “deconstructive test,” which is an approved method of testing but not required for compliance with formaldehyde emissions limits set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Formaldehyde is a cancer-causing ingredient in glues and resins that hold particles of sawdust together in the fiberboard “core” of each laminated piece of wood. Formaldehyde is also an ingredient used in the glue between the fiberboard and the laminated surface.

The “deconstructive” test takes a finished board, rips off the laminated surface, sands the fiberboard, and tests emissions from the core. Understandably, formaldehyde emissions in the deconstructive test are higher than emissions from a finished product because formaldehyde is not sealed inside the board. The toxic gas still escapes, but at a slower rate than a deconstructed board.


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