A $2 million settlement has been reached to resolve allegations that Eternity Floors d/b/a L.A. Hardwood Floors sold Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring between Jan. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2016 that contained higher formaldehyde emissions than what is allowed under California law. Since the laminate flooring was mainly sold to contractors who installed the flooring for residential customers, many individuals may not realize they have the affected flooring installed in their home. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with Scott Hardy, President of Top Class Actions.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Farron Cousins:                  If you’re fortunate enough to be able to hire a contractor to come out and make some renovations on your home or even to build you a new home, there’s a good chance you may not know where some of these materials are coming from and sometimes even the contractor isn’t 100% sure where these products that they’re purchasing are actually coming from. And as we’re starting to find out now, that is causing all sorts of problems for homeowners, especially in the state of California. Joining me now to explain what’s happening is Scott Hardy with Top Class Actions, and Scott, what we’re seeing right now is laminate flooring that contractors had purchased from a, you know, flooring company there in the state of California. Only to find out later that this flooring came from China and it is basically emitting horrible chemicals into people’s homes that they didn’t have any idea was going to happen. Tell us, tell us what’s going on here.

Scott Hardy:                          Right. So we have these laminate floors that, as you said, were manufactured in China, shipped over and they’re emitting formaldehyde fumes, it’s toxic. You’re going to need to pull up those floors and replace them, and a lot of these floors were sold in California through a company that was called LA Hardwood Floors. But the issue is that most people didn’t actually know that they had LA Hardwood Floors. They thought that, you know, their contractor went out, put in this laminate flooring and then they started seeing issues. And so it’s $2 million, that’s the value of the settlement that’s up for grabs. If you had laminate flooring, if you know it was purchased by LA Hardwood Floors, you are in amazing shape. You can actually get the purchase price of that flooring back if you have those invoices. If you don’t know, talk to your flooring contractor. If you had your flooring put in between January 1st, 2012 and December 31st, 2016 and you had laminate flooring put in, there’s a good chance that it was LA Hardwood Flooring.

So you’d want to talk to your contractor and ask them what they put in. They could provide you those invoices, they can get that, you know, that way you can submit those and get your money back. But I think a great thing is even if you don’t have that information and you don’t have that proof of purchase, but you have laminate flooring, you can submit pictures of your floor. The settlement administrators will review it and you may very well qualify for a claim. You’ll only get 50% of your purchase price back and you have to identify which store that you purchased this from. But, you know, you’ve got a chance at getting some of that money back for that floor that you’re having to replace.

Farron Cousins:                  So if somebody were to have, you know, the invoice or receipt or, or, or what have you, that shows that they did purchase the product from LA Hardwood Floors. It is the formaldehyde tainted laminate tiles. It’s only to cover the cost of the replacement tiles? Is, is there any labor included in this, you know, settlement money for these people? Because I know labor can be another, you know, fairly big cost for this. So I’m just wondering if it only covers the product itself or if it may include having somebody come out and re-install?

Scott Hardy:                          Labor is not included in the settlement right now. It’s what you paid for it. And so what we’re hoping for is that we’ll see some, you know, additional payments come out. It, depending on the number of claims, if there aren’t a high number of claims, the payments should be more per claimant. But this is just to replace the cost of the hardwood floor. So unfortunately you’re still out for any labor.

Farron Cousins:                  So this, this is a settlement, this has been reached. So obviously we’re in the part where people can go ahead and submit their claims. So what kind of deadlines are we working with here? Because typically, you know, these things don’t last forever. So what do people need to know about how soon they need to file this claim?

Scott Hardy:                          They need to get on this. The claim deadline is April 14th. So you’ve got about a month and a half, almost two months to sit back, talk to your, talk to the people who installed your floor, find out who did it, get those receipts. You know, if you bought your flooring and you lost your receipts already, but you know that you bought this flooring from one of the resellers, reach out to them, get those invoices. This could very well put hundreds if not thousands of dollars back in your pocket. So it is worth your time to get that paperwork and submit the claim because after April 14th, if that claim is not in, you are very likely out.

Farron Cousins:                  And that’s another reason why we always say, especially for big projects like this, anything involving your home, save those receipts, put them in a fireproof waterproof lockbox if you can, you can find them online. They’re really not that expensive and they absolutely could end up paying for themselves if you have one of these claims for any of the things you and I have discussed over the year. People got to save the receipts, especially for the bigger ticket items like any home repairs, appliances, keep them. It’s going to come in handy. And for more information about this particular issue and the settlement, follow the link in this description of this video, head on over to Top Class Actions, and if you haven’t already done so, everyone needs to sign up for their weekly newsletter. Scott Hardy with Top Class Actions, always a pleasure talking to you. Thank you.

Scott Hardy:                          You’re welcome. Thanks for your time, Farron.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced