Clinton man files suit over flooring believed to contain high levels of formaldehyde

CLINTON (WATE) – A Clinton man has filed suit against national hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators after a television news report claimed some of the company’s Chinese made product contained high levels of formaldehyde.

In the class action complaint, filed in Knoxville federal court, Stacy Vickery says he bought approximately 1,400 square feet of Lumber Liquidators’ “St. James Nantucket Beech 12mm laminate flooring” in 2013 to replace carpeting in his home. Vickery wanted to remove the carpet in his home for fear of it exacerbating his breathing and lung problems.

Instead, Vickery says his breathing problems worsened upon installing the flooring from Lumber Liquidators.

“I’m very concerned about it, considering I have upper respiratory problems anyway and I don’t want nothing like this to add to it,” said Vickery.

Stacy Vickery
Stacy Vickery

After seeing a report earlier this month on the CBS News program 60 Minutes that claimed some of the company’s flooring products contained dangerously high levels of known carcinogen formaldehyde, Vickery says he realized the flooring could be the reason his health worsened.

The news program reported that some of the flooring it tested were not compliant with California Air Resources Board standards and had as much as 20 times the levels advertised.

Web Extra: Test results/product list [PDF]

Vickery says he would not have purchased the flooring if he had known it was dangerous.

Vickery is seeking damages associated with the cost of replacing the flooring and for personal injury. The suit also asks the court to declare Lumber Liquidators’ products defective and order recalls and other corrective action.

Lumber Liquidators told 60 Minutes it insists its product is safe.

The flooring was purchased at Lumber Liquidators in Knoxville.
The flooring was purchased at Lumber Liquidators in Knoxville.

“Our goal is to sell a good product at a good price and we don’t get the price by skimping on anything. We get the price by low overhead, huge volume, and being very efficient at what we do. We’re never going to sell something unsafe,” said founder and chairman, Tom Sullivan.

Web Extra: Read the lawsuit [PDF]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told WATE 6 On Your Side that low levels of formaldehyde can cause problems with your eyes, nose, throat and skin. In this case, experts are worried about constant exposure – the kind you get from living with high levels of it in your home.

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and it can also cause respiratory problems and headaches. Those are all things Vickery is worried about.

“I have them all the time. I have migraine headaches all the time,” he said.

That’s why he said he’s suing the company. While he doesn’t have high hopes, he said he has to try.

“I’ve got no choice, this is my home,” he said.

Lumber Liquidators has not responded to a request for comment on Vickery’s lawsuit.

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