Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Two More Class Action Lawsuits Leveled Against Lumber Liquidators
Two additional class action lawsuits have been filed against Lumber Liquidators (Toano, Va.) due to claims that the company sourced products from protected Russian forests and sold products with illegally high levels of formaldehyde.
Yesterday the firm Glancy, Binkow & Goldberg LLP filed a separate class action suit against the company on behalf of investors, according to Business Wire, claiming that company and certain of its executive misrepresented or failed to disclose that certain of the company's products failed to comply with applicable laws and regulations governing formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, and that the company imported flooring products sourced from illegally logged wood in the Russian Far East, in violation of the Lacey Act.
This suit comes after investor Gregg Kiken filed a suit at the end of November alleging that company executives made false and misleading statements about the sourcing of its wood products.
Meanwhile, a different suit was filed last week with the Virginia federal court, according to Legal Newsline, in which homeowners allege that a line of Chinese wood flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators emits “excessive levels” of formaldehyde.
“Indeed, contrary to Lumber Liquidators’ repeated, detailed
representations that its flooring complies with strict formaldehyde
standards on its product labels, website, and elsewhere, the toxic
formaldehyde emissions from the company’s Chinese flooring products are
multiple times the maximum permissible limits set by those standards at
the time of purchase,” plaintiffs Donnie Williamson, Melissa Stini and
Jennifer Hogencamp wrote in their 53-page complaint.
The plaintiffs installed the flooring in their homes and contend that their homes are now “markedly less valuable.”
are seeking damages—for installation and removal costs, remediation
costs, restocking fees, loss of use and diminished value—attorneys’ fees
and costs, and pre-judgment and post-judgment interest “at the highest
rates allowed by law” on the damages awarded.
In September, federal authorities executed sealed search warrants on Lumber Liquidators that may have been related to a report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). The EIA report concluded that Lumber Liquidators knowingly imported wood flooring products harvested from protected lands in Russia’s far east.
When reached for comment, a Lumber Liquidators spokesperson said the company does not comment on pending or in-progress litigation.
Deanwood International Increases Production
Deanwood International (Leland, N.C.), which purchased all the assets of Dean Hardwoods in August 2012, plans to increase production. In its first year, Dean International has grown its staff from 7 to 15 people, most recently adding Mary Blankenship Sigmon to the sales team.
“We are very excited to continue the Dean family heritage as the fourth generation in the wood products industry,” Tom Dean, vice president of Deanwood, said in a statement. “After Dean Hardwoods closed we sat down and created a new business plan based on a vision of doing what we do best: provide the highest quality products at very competitive prices while delivering extraordinary levels of customer service.”
Deanwood manufactures flooring, stair parts and moldings in red oak, white oak, hickory, walnut, Brazilian cherry, tigerwood, sapele, Brazilian walnut and other domestic and imported woods.
Deanwood is located at 9244 Industrial Blvd. in Leland, N.C., and the office phone number is (910) 763-5409. Sales inquiries can be directed to Tom Dean at (910) 512-0088 or email@example.com, or to Mary Sigmon (276) 252-3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mullican Donating Up to $5,000 to Toys For Tots
For every new “like” its Facebook page receives from Dec. 10-22, Mullican Flooring (Johnson City, Tenn.) will donate $5 to the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program, up to $5,000.
In the first day of this year’s 12 Days of Christmas campaign, the page received 51 “likes,” which equates to $255 for the charity. Last year Mullican reached its $5,000 goal in the 12 days.
To participate, click the Like button on Mullican’s Facebook page and share one of the 12 Days of Christmas posts with others.
Mohawk Hard Surfaces Launches New Sales Platform
The Mohawk Hard Surfaces (Dallas) sales team will launch its “New MHS” sales platform at the 2013 Mohawk Solutions Convention Dec. 12-14 in Dallas. The New MHS plan emphasizes the customer experience, focusing on equipping Aligned Program retailers for success.
“Our team has new executive leadership and fresh ideas, ushering in an increased level of excitement and executional excellence for our Aligned retailer partners.” said Rodney Mauter, director of sales operations for Mohawk Hard Surfaces. “Our New MHS sales program is laser beam focused on providing new products, the best services, unsurpassed product training, and effective programs.”
At the helm of the New MHS executive sales leadership is Jamie Byrne, senior vice president of hard surface sales. Partnering with Byrne out of the Mohawk Hard Surfaces headquarters in Dallas is Mauter. Leading the team nationwide are regional vice presidents and a general manager including: Craig Cook (Southeast), Bob Nichols (Northeast), Rich Owen (West Coast), Gary Phelps (North Central), Dave Slough (Northeast GM), Patrick Warren (South Central), and Jeff Wilson (Florida).
Shaw Named College, Career Academy Partner of the Year
Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle named Shaw Industries Inc. (Dalton, Ga.) the 2013 College and Career Academy Business Partner of the Year at the 2013 Lt. Governor’s Business and Education Summit.
“When it came time to select our first ever College and Career Academy Business Partner of the Year, Shaw Industries was an obvious choice,” said Cagle in a statement. “Their commitment to and passion for improving the quality of education opportunities available to students in their local communities is a great testament to the values they live up to as a company.”
Representatives from Shaw serve on the board of Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy and Gordon County College and Career Academy. Also, Brian Cooksey, Shaw’s director of operations, training, and development, spearheaded the development of the Mechatronics curriculum and wrote the standards approved by the Department of Education for use across Georgia. Students in the Mechatronics program will have the opportunity to complete post-secondary work in industrial systems and take advantage of work-based learning opportunities at Shaw and other manufacturers.
Malaysian State Says No to VPA with EU
See Chee How, vice chairman of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, said his state is not interested in entering a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union because it can rely on demand from Asian importers, according to The Borneo Post.
With the state opting not to sign the VPA, its timber will not be legally allowed into markets of the EU’s 28 member nations; however, the major importers of Sarawak timber are Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, none of which is bound by VPAs.
Peninsular Malaysia, on the other hand, is working to create a VPA with the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) program.
USGBC Releases Final LEED in Motion Report
The U.S. Green Building Council has released its third and final LEED in Motion report titled “Impacts and Innovation.” The report describes the business and human health impacts of projects using the LEED system as well as new green building technologies.
“’LEED in Motion: Impacts and Innovation’ highlights the revolutionary thinking that has been the catalyst for the transformation in the built environment we are witnessing worldwide,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC, in a statement. “Even as LEED is in itself an innovation, it has and will continue to serve as a gateway to further advances in the movement to create healthier, high-performing buildings and vibrant, resilient communities.”
“Impacts and Innovation” also features LEED project energy data, revealing that 450 LEED projects that reported data over a 12-month period experienced an energy use intensity (EUI) that was nearly 31 percent lower than the national median source EUI.
The report is available exclusively to USGBC members here.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Wood Pro to Host Arboritec Open House in Rhode Island
Wood Pro Inc. (Warwick, R.I.) will host an open house Dec. 11 featuring Arboritec’s UVElite finish and Miracle Oil in its facility at 85 Byfield Street in Warwick. The open house will include UV finishing demos.
Monday, December 09, 2013
Lumber Liquidators Partners with VCU Athletics on Practice Facility
Lumber Liquidators (Toano, Va.) has entered a multi-year partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Athletics Department, according to a press release from the university. Lumber Liquidators has agreed to provide up to $1 million in hardwood flooring for the new VCU basketball training facility and other athletics buildings.
“VCU Athletics is excited to continue our partnership with Lumber Liquidators. In spending time with Rob Lynch and his staff over the last year, it became very clear that both organizations are passionate about the city of Richmond and about achieving at the highest level,” Ed McLaughlin, VCU director of athletics, said in a statement. “This partnership will move us closer to our goal of building a first-class basketball practice facility for our student-athletes that will enable them to succeed athletically and academically."
Mohawk Hard Surfaces Hires Reddington, Promotes Cook
Joe Reddington has been named the new director of national accounts and business development of Mohawk Hard Surfaces/Unilin, and Craig Cook has been promoted to regional vice president for the Southeast, both effective today.
Reddington brings more than 30 years of floor covering industry experience to the position, having worked at BPI for the last 10 years and at Armstrong before that. Reddington’s office is at the Mohawk Hard Surfaces/Unilin headquarters in Dallas, and he reports to Jamie Byrne, senior vice president of Mohawk Hard Surfaces and Bob Leahy, senior vice president Unilin sales. Reddington can be reached at Joe_Reddington@Mohawkind.com.
Cook brings 20 years of experience to the position; he has been at Mohawk Hard Surfaces for five years and also previously worked at Armstrong. Cook is based out of Charlotte, N.C., and reports to Byrne. Cook can be contacted at email@example.com.
Craig Cook (left) and Joe Reddington (right).
HF Brief: Vendor Registration Open for The Market Show
Vendor registration is now open for Flooring Association Northwest’s The Market trade show March 4 at the Lynnwood Convention Center in Lynnwood, Wash. Registration forms are available here.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Stauf to Increase Prices as of Jan. 1
Stauf USA LLC (Arlington, Tenn.) announced that it will increase prices for the first time in three years. The company reports that cost of raw materials has steadily increased even in the down economy, and until now it has been able to hold off on any increases that have been passed down from those suppliers. The increase will go into effect Jan. 1 on products shipped from any of Stauf’s U.S. warehouses and will be effective on anything ordered in container quantity after Dec. 6.
New Residential Sales Jump 25.4 Percent in October
Sales of new single-family homes were at a rate of 444,000 in October, a 25.4 percent increase from September’s rate of 354,000, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The October rate is 21.6 percent above October 2012.
The median sales price of new houses sold in October was $245,800, and the average sales price was $321,700. There were an estimated 183,000 new homes on the market at the end of October, representing a 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace.
"The strong October results return us to the sales levels we saw earlier this year and negate the pause caused by the sudden jump in interest rates," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe in a statement. "We expect sales to continue to rise as pent-up demand is released and first-time home buyers creep back into the market."
Scott Banda Promoted to Bostik Director of Marketing
Scott Banda has been promoted to director of marketing for Bostik Inc.’s (Wauwatosa, Wis.) Consumer and Construction Business Unit. He will direct product management, marketing communications and strategic partnership efforts for the unit. Banda has served in a variety of roles in his 10 years with Bostik.
“Scott is a tremendous example of what can be accomplished through perseverance, hard work and innovation,” said Mike Jenkins, business director of Bostik’s Consumer and Construction Business Unit. “He has been a key leader in our business’ continued growth and success. I am confident that he will continue to be a positive influence on our division’s future.”
NAHB: Markets Slowly Return to Normal in October, November
Markets in 54 out of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in October, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI). This is up two points from September.
The nationwide score of 0.86 indicates that, based on permits, prices and employment data, the market was running at 86 percent of normal economic and housing activity.
In November, 55 housing markets were operating at or above their last normal levels, and the nationwide market was operating at 85 percent of normal growth.
LMI data for the two months were released simultaneously because of the delay in collecting data during the partial government shutdown in October.
Noting that smaller metros accounted for most of the 54 markets on the current LMI that are at or above normal levels, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in a statement that "smaller markets are leading the way, particularly where energy is the primary economic driver. Nearly half of the markets in the top 54 are in the energy states of Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana."
Indonesia Proposes Forest Certification System
Indonesia has become the third Asian country to seek support from the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). PEFC stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the Indonesian Forestry Certification Co-operation’s (IFCC) compliance with PEFC International’s sustainability benchmark by Feb. 1.
“We appreciate the opportunity that PEFC is providing independent national forest certification systems such as IFCC to develop its own standards tailored to our national and local political, economic, social, environmental and cultural realities,” Dradjad Wibowo, chairman of the IFCC, said in a statement. “PEFC’s bottom-up approach has enabled Indonesian stakeholders to develop a robust standard that considers Indonesia’s unique needs and therefore has the potential of wide adaptation.”
PEFC stakeholders can find the IFCC proposal and comment on it here.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Armstrong to Raise Hardwood Prices Again
Armstrong World Industries (Lancaster, Pa.) plans to raise the prices on select solid and engineered hardwood products 6 to 12 percent in the U.S. and Canada. The new pricing will take effect on Feb. 3.
“We are taking this action after serious consideration of the alternatives and options but this increase is the minimum necessary to secure the raw materials required to service our valued customers as we move into 2014,” Kevin Biedermann, senior vice president of Armstrong Residential Floor Products, said in a statement. “The continuing record-levels of raw materials costs increases on both veneer and lumber, combined with constrained lumber supplies for certain species of lumber, necessitate this price increase. We are doing everything we can to compensate. We truly understand how difficult it is to pass along price increases to customers. Our focus continues to be delivering quality, innovation and service that drive growth for our customers.”
This is the latest in a series of price increases, the most recent of which went into effect on Sept. 13.
Al Maghes to Retire from Erickson’s Flooring
Al Maghes, Erickson’s Flooring & Supply’s (Ferndale, Mich.) account manager for the east side, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31.
Maghes started with the company in 1989 as an account manager in the Detroit metro area, working for Dick and Diane Walters. Through the following 25 years, he served as sales manager, general manager, VP of sales and VP of product development. The company credits Maghes with transitioning Erickson’s from a one-facility organization to a company serving five states from its five facilities.
Horizon Forest Products to Distribute Pallmann Products
UFloor Systems announced that Horizon Forest Products (Raleigh, N.C.) is the newest Pallmann distributor partner. Horizon will carry the new Hardwood Complete range of Pallmann product systems throughout its nine-branch distribution network in North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia.
"We are excited about adding what we consider to be truly one of finest distributors in our industry to our growing network of distributor partners," said Mark Weglowski, Pallmann brand manager, in a statement. "Their goal of providing 'the best products and the best service to their customers' mirrors our own hands-on approach that we take with the Pallmann brand."
The Hardwood Complete range includes primers and moisture mitigation products, leveling compounds, adhesives, sanding machines and tools, finishes and floor care products.
Surfaces to Feature “Truth About Trees” for Children
The International Surface Event and the Hardwood Forest Foundation will present a new education program, “Truth about Trees,” to teach school-age children about the benefits of properly harvesting resources. The program, to be held at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 29 on the Event Main Stage at Surfaces 2014, is a result of a partnership between the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA).
“Upon attending a similar event at the recent NHLA Annual Convention & Exhibit Showcase in Ft. Worth, Texas, I knew NWFA needed to host the foundation and its educational program, ‘Truth About Trees,’ at The International Surface Event. It’s amazing what this program can teach young people in a short period of time through keeping them engaged with scientific resources and everyday common-sense learning,” said Michael Martin, president and CEO of NWFA, in a statement.
Children will be shuttled to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and they will have the opportunity to talk to professionals in the hardwood industry.
For more information on the shows and sessions taking place during The International Surface Event, visit the Surfaces website at www.surfaces.com.