Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Notice about?
The Notice is to inform you about the Settlement of lawsuits that may affect your rights, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement as final.
The lawsuits are called In Re: Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Laminate Flooring Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, No. 1:15-md-02627 (AJT) (E.D. Va), and In Re Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Flooring Durability Marketing And Sales Practices Litigation, No. 1:16-md-02743 (AJT) (E.D. Va.). The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is overseeing both lawsuits. The people who filed the lawsuits are called Plaintiffs, and the company they sued is called the Defendant.
What is the lawsuit about?
One lawsuit (MDL 2627) alleges that the Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators did not comply with the labeling on the box which stated that the flooring complied with the California Air Resources Board regulations for formaldehyde levels in laminate flooring. The other lawsuit (MDL 2743) alleges that the same flooring does not meet the industry standards for durability and scratch-resistance, making the flooring less durable than advertised.
Lumber Liquidators denies the allegations and denies fault or liability.
What is a class action?
In a class action, one or more people called class representatives sue on behalf of a group or a “class” of people who have similar claims. In a class action, the court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.
WHO IS INCLUDED
How do I know if I am included in the Settlement Class?
You may be included in one or both of two Settlement Classes if you are a person in the United States who purchased Chinese-made laminate flooring (“Class Flooring”) from Lumber Liquidators between January 1, 2009 and May 31, 2015.
Specifically, you are a CARB1 Settlement Class Member if you purchased Chinese-made laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010, and you are a CARB2/Durability Settlement Class Member if you purchased Chinese-made laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators between January 1, 2011 and May 31, 2015.
What does it mean if I received an email or postcard about this settlement?
If you received a notice in the mail about this Settlement, then Lumber Liquidators’ records reflect that you purchased Class Flooring during the Class Period. This means you may be eligible to participate in the Settlement.
Please review the notice you received carefully. The front of the postcard or the email contains information identifying which class(es) you are included in. Please see Question 9 below.
If you did not receive a notice by mail or email you may still be a member of the class. Please complete a claim form online by clicking here or visit the Important Documents section of this website to print a paper claim form. Your claim will be processed according to the applicable Court Orders and Settlement Agreement.
Who is not included in the Settlement Class?
The Settlement Classes do not include:
(1) Defendant, (2) all present and former affiliates and/or officers or directors of Defendant, (3) the Judge of this Court, the Judge’s family and staff, (4) all individuals who have already entered a Release and Settlement Agreement with Lumber Liquidators related to their purchase of the Chinese-made laminate flooring product during the Class Periods, (5) contractors, persons, or other entities who purchased Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring primarily for resale, (6) individuals bringing Personal Injury Claims as defined in the Settlement Agreement and identified in Exhibit A to the Settlement Agreement, and (7) all persons who timely request to be excluded from the Classes in accordance with the provisions of the Notice.
What Products are included?
Chinese-made laminate flooring (“Class Flooring”) means laminate flooring labeled “Made in China” and purchased from Lumber Liquidators stores from January 1, 2009 to May 31, 2015. A list of the eligible products may be found by clicking here.
THE SETTLEMENT’S BENEFITS
What does the Settlement provide?
The total value of the Settlement is $36,000,000.00 consisting of $22,000,000 in cash and $14,000,000 in store-credit vouchers. For CARB1 class members, the Settlement will provide eligible class members up to $50, depending upon how many claims are made on a $1,000,000 fund. For CARB2/Durability class members, the Settlement will provide eligible class members a portion of their purchase price (excluding installation and labor costs) back in cash or a store-credit voucher that can be used at Lumber Liquidators.
In addition to repaying Class members, the cash portion will be used to pay attorneys’ fees, costs, expenses, incentive awards to class representatives who were involved in the litigating the lawsuits, and the costs to administer the settlement.
Class members who select a store-credit voucher may transfer the voucher to a family member or a nationally recognized charity. Vouchers will not otherwise be transferrable, nor may they be sold or redeemed for cash.
Eligible Class members who file an Approved claim may choose the cash award or the store-credit voucher. If you fail to make a selection or select both, you will receive a store-credit voucher.
Cash or store-credit voucher awards will be allocated on a pro rata basis: this means that the final amount each participant receives will not be known until all class members have decided if they will participate in the settlement, and after they have selected the cash award or a store-credit voucher award. As explained below the potential amounts depend on whether you are a member of the CARB2-Durability Class, the CARB1 Class, or both.
No Portion of the Settlement Fund Will Return to Defendant.
Under no circumstances shall any portion of the Settlement Fund revert back to Defendant. If there are any checks uncashed, Plaintiffs’ counsel may seek a cy pres award to benefit the victims of 2017 hurricanes that struck the U.S. or its territories.
What can I get?
The Settlement provides three (3) possible benefits to class members, depending on their membership in one or both of two settlement classes. If you received a Notice in the mail, that Notice states which of the following benefits you are entitled to. Please see the front of the Notice for additional details regarding your class.
CARB2/Durability Class (purchases of Class Flooring from January 1, 2011 to May 31, 2015): The Settlement will provide these eligible class members a portion of their purchase price (excluding installation and labor costs) back in cash, or a store credit voucher that can be used at Lumber Liquidators.
Eligible class members who file an Approved claim may only choose the cash award or the voucher; they may not choose both. Both awards will be allocated on a pro rata basis: this means the final amount each participant receives will not be known until all class members have decided if they will participate and which option they have selected (cash or voucher).
Based upon past settlement data, class members selecting the cash award may expect to receive about 28% to 72% of the purchase price of their flooring—this does not include the cost of installation. Class members selecting to receive a voucher can expect 50% to 134% of their purchase price.
By way of example, a CARB2/Durability class member who paid $1,000 for his or her Class Flooring could estimate to receive a store-credit voucher with an approximate value of $500 to $1,340. If the same class member selected the cash option, he or she could estimate an approximate cash award of $280 to $720. These are estimates for illustration purposes only. The final award amounts will depend on, among other things, the actual purchase price you paid for your Class Flooring, and the participation and award selection of settlement participants.
With the claims period almost expired, Class Counsel have more information on the estimated benefits. Because of an extremely high participation rate, and a very high rate of selection of the cash award, the estimated benefit for claimants selecting cash is approximately 5.5% of their purchase price. The estimated benefit for those selecting store credit vouchers is 60% of their purchase price, or about $703 on average.
Recognizing that this new information may lead some class members to wish to reconsider their selection, the Court has extended to October 20, 2018 the date by which class members who have enrolled may change their selection from cash to voucher (or vice-versa).
CARB1 Class (purchases of Class Flooring from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010): The Settlement will provide these eligible class members who file a timely and valid claim a payment of up to $50. There is no store credit voucher option for CARB1 Class claimants. A total of $1.0 million has been allocated for the CARB1 class.
If eligible claims exceed $1.0 million such that funds are insufficient to pay eligible CARB1 Claimants $50 each, the award will be allocated on a pro rata basis: this means the final amount each participant receives will be reduced if too many claimants participate. The final amount awarded will not be known until all CARB1 Class members have decided if they will participate.
Both Classes (purchasers of Class Flooring during both the time periods): Class Members who made purchases of Class Flooring in both the CARB1 (January 1, 2009-December 31, 2010) and CARB2/Durability (January 1, 2011-May 31, 2015) time periods are included in both the CARB1 Class and the CARB2/Durability Class and are eligible to participate in both benefits as stated above.
The differences in the Settlement Classes relates in part to the different rules as to formaldehyde levels under CARB1 (.21 parts per million) and CARB2 (.11 parts per million) and the strength of the Plaintiffs’ case. More details are in the Settlement Agreement, which is available by clicking here.
HOW TO GET BENEFITS
How do I make a claim?
When may I make a claim?
Claims may be submitted at any time through the Claim Deadline by clicking here or by mail as described above.
“Claim Deadline” means the date by which all Claim Forms must be postmarked or received by the Settlement Administrator to be considered timely. The claim deadline is extended to October 20, 2018 if filed online or if mailed to the Settlement Administrator, the Claim must be postmarked by the extended deadline of October 20, 2018.
When you submit a Claim, you agree to cooperate to provide such other information as is reasonably needed to evaluate the Claim and efficiently determine whether the Claim qualifies for the settlement benefits. Only a Settlement Class Member may submit a Claim. More details are available in the Settlement Agreement, which is available by clicking here.
REMAIN IN THE SETTLEMENT CLASS
What am I giving up if I stay in the Settlement Class?
Unless you exclude yourself (i.e., opt out of the Settlement), you will give up your right to sue the Defendant for the claims in these two MDL cases as set forth in the Settlement Agreement. You also will be bound by any decisions by the Court relating to the lawsuit and Settlement.
In return for providing the Settlement benefits, Defendant will be released from certain claims relating to the facts underlying this lawsuit. The Settlement Agreement describes the Release. Please read it carefully. Please note that with respect to any personal injury claims, only those who file such claims as of Final Approval of the Settlement are automatically excluded from the Release. If you think that you may wish to bring personal injury claims related to the Chinese-made laminate at issue in these MDLs, you may consult an attorney of your choosing, at your expense, regarding any such potential claims. Class Counsel cannot provide an evaluation of any potential personal injury claim, nor make any recommendations for personal injury counsel. The Release is discussed at pages 35-36 of the Settlement Agreement that may be found by clicking here. If you still have questions about the scope of the Release, you can contact Class Counsel listed in the response to Question 18.
EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT CLASS
How do I get out of the Settlement Class?
To exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must send a letter (a “Request for Exclusion”) by first class mail to the Settlement Administrator. If you exclude yourself, you will not be entitled to share in the benefits of the Settlement. Your Request for Exclusion must include:
• Your name, address, and email address;
• Identify your individual counsel (if any);
• Contain a statement substantially similar to “I want to opt out of the Class(es) certified in the Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured laminate flooring litigation.”; and
• Your signature and, if applicable, the signature of the attorney representing you.
Your Request for Exclusion must be submitted via U.S. Mail, Postage paid, and postmarked no later than September 4, 2018, and mailed to:
CLASS ACTION EXCLUSIONS
ATTN: LUMBER LIQUIDATORS SETTLEMENT
P.O. Box 30456
Philadelphia, PA 19103
If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue for the same thing later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you will remain in the Settlement Classes and give up any right to separately sue Defendant for the claims covered by the Settlement.
If I exclude myself, can I still get benefits from the Settlement?
No. If you exclude yourself, you may not make a claim under the Settlement and you will not be eligible to receive compensation from the Settlement.
OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT
How do I object to the Settlement?
If you are a Class Member and disagree with any aspect of the Settlement which applies to you, you may object to the Settlement. You may express your views to the Court by writing a notice of intent to object to the Court, Class Counsel, and Defendant’s counsel at the addresses below. Your written notice of intent to object must be mailed via first class mail and include:
• A caption that includes the case name and the case number as follows: In Re: Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Laminate Flooring Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1:15-md-02627; or In Re: Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Laminate Flooring Durability Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 1:16-md-2743; or both
• Your name, mailing address, and email address;
• A written letter or brief detailing the specific basis for each objection, including any legal and factual support the objector wishes to bring to the Court’s attention and any evidence the objector wishes to introduce in support of the objection, addressed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia not later than September 4, 2018;
• A valid proof of purchase of Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators or a reasonable equivalent;
• The number of class action settlements objected to by the Class member in the last three years;
• A statement as to whether the objecting Class member intends to appear at the Final Approval and Fairness Hearing, either in person or through counsel; and
• Your signature and, if applicable, the signature of the attorney representing you.
Any comment or objection to the Settlement must be postmarked or personally delivered no later than September 4, 2018 to these four addresses:
Clerk of Court
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
401 Courthouse Square
Alexandria, VA 22314
Defendant Lumber Liquidators, Inc. Lead Counsel:
Diane P. Flannery, Esq.
Gateway Plaza, 800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Formaldehyde Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel:
Steven Toll, Esq.
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
1100 New York Ave, NW
Suite 500 – West Tower
Washington, DC 20005
Durability Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel:
Alexander Robertson, IV, Esq.
Robertson & Associates, LLP
32121 Lindero Canyon Rd, Suite 200
Westlake Village, CA 91361
What is the difference between excluding myself and objecting?
If you exclude yourself from the Settlement Classes, you are telling the Court that you don’t want to participate in the Settlement. Therefore, you will not be eligible to receive any benefits from the Settlement and you will not be able to object to the Settlement. Objecting to the Settlement simply means telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. Objecting does not disqualify you from making a claim; nor does it make you ineligible to receive Settlement benefits.
THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU
Do I have a lawyer representing me?
Yes. The Court has appointed the following law firms as Class Counsel to represent you and all other members of the Settlement Classes: Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC; Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP; Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Robertson & Associates LLP; Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP and Ahdoot & Wolfson, PC.
You do not need to hire a lawyer to file a claim; the claims forms were designed to be filled out by claimants without the need of an attorney. If you do retain a lawyer to assist you, it would be at your own expense.
If you have any questions about the Settlement, you can talk to Class Counsel, or the Settlement Administrator at 1-855-728-9632.
How will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel will request attorneys’ fees not to exceed one-third of the Settlement Fund, plus costs and expenses. The amount of these fees, costs, and expenses, as well as service awards for Class Representatives, will be decided by the Court and will be paid out of the Settlement Fund. Class Counsel will request service awards for Class Representatives who were deposed and actively participated in the litigation of up to $5,000 each, for a total of $60,000.00. Class Counsel will request a maximum of one service award per household. The Court may award less than the requested amounts for attorney’s fees, costs, expenses, and service awards
THE FINAL APPROVAL HEARING
When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at 10:00 a.m. on October 3, 2018, at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Room 702, 401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA 22314. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so check this website for current information. At the Final Approval Hearing the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections or comments, the Court will consider them at that time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to grant final approval to the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
Do I have to come to the hearing?
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection or comment, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also hire a lawyer to appear on your behalf at your own expense
May I speak at the hearing?
If you send an objection or comment on the Settlement as described in Question 16, you will have the right to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.
GET MORE INFORMATION
Where can I get more information?