LaPlace attorney considers litigation over Chinese flooring

LaPlace attorney considers litigation over Chinese flooring

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - First it was Chinese drywall. Now, there are concerns over Chinese laminate floors, cause one company's stock to plummet and a LaPlace lawyer to consider legal action.

He was one of the lead attorneys in the lawsuit against Chinese drywall, which flooded the local market after Katrina.

"Drywall is drywall. No one ever heard of Chinese drywall until this fiasco with contamination developed," said attorney Daniel Becnel.

Now Becnel, is at it again, considering litigation against manufacturers of certain types of Chinese laminate floors.

"Lumber Liquidators sponsors these companies to produce the flooring, and they ship it over here and beat U.S. prices by 30-40 percent," Becnel said.

Stock prices for Lumber Liquidators plummeted Monday after a report by "60 Minutes" showed that formaldehyde levels in some Chinese laminate flooring was triple the safe levels set by California.

"The formaldehyde concerns me, because I'm putting it in a rental property, and it could cause problems for children as well as us," said Jan Dillenkoffer, who was shopping for new flooring in Elmwood.

Formaldehyde is a chemical linked to cancer and was found in high levels in FEMA trailers. It is used in the glues that are used to make laminated cabinets and floors.

"Usually laminated floors take anywhere from 15-20 percent of glues that hold the particle board or bamboo board together," Becnel said.

Becnel is confident about a unique feature in Louisiana's Napoleonic Code that he believes might help people who are damaged by bad Chinese flooring.

"If you sell me a product that doesn't fit, I'm entitled to get my money back," Becnel said.

Lumber Liquidators released a statement saying: "We stand by every single plank of wood and laminate we sell around the country." But some consumers are staying away from Chinese brands.

"I'm buying only American products right now, I'm concerned about the formaldehyde problem," Dillenkoffer said.

And she's willing to pay more to alleviate her concerns about health.

Becnel said precedents were set in the Chinese drywall case that might make it easier to go after Chinese flooring manufacturers. He said red flags may have been raised earlier if other states set formaldehyde standards similar to those set in California.

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