Lawsuits Against Azek Decking are Consolidated
Separate class-action lawsuits claiming Azek PVC decking is defective have been consolidated under multidistrict rules in a New Jersey court, a procedural step that should streamline legal proceedings as the case moves forward.
Lawsuits against Azek and its parent company, CPG, of Scranton, Pa., have been filed by consumers in New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts, and also include plaintiffs from Maryland, Virginia, and Connecticut, according to a report in Plastics News, an industry publication.
Late last month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the suits under federal district court Judge Kevin McNulty, who was already presiding over the New Jersey class-action suit, according to an article at a web site called Top Class Actions.
Complaints claim Azek decking is prone to deterioriation and other problems even when installed correctly, despite the manufacturer’s claims its product will outperform wood or wood/plastic composite decking. Warranty claims against CPG were denied because the reported problems were aesthetic in nature, not performance-related, the suits say.
In a statement, CPG President Jason Grommon said decking products are covered by a limited lifetime warranty and that the company responds “to every customer inquiry that comes to our attention.” The law firm representing CPG said it was its policy not to comment on pending legal matters.
Latest case filed in Massachusetts
The most recent complaint was filed in January by a Chelmsford, Mass., couple who claim Azek deck boards “contain serious design and manufacturing defects, making them susceptible to cracking, discoloring, fading, chalking and degrading after installation.”
The couple installed Azek decking from the Harvest Collection at their home in March 2011. They noticed the decking was “fading and discoloring” eight months after it was installed, and the problems got worse over time.
Citing anecdotal evidence that homeowners elsewhere were having the same problems, the couple’s complaint says CPG and Azek’s “design and material choices have created a product that begins to fail on its first day of use, even if perfectly installed in its intended environment.”
Azek apparently offered to refund the original purchase price of the decking, but the couple said the offer was inadequate because it didn’t include labor or disposal costs for getting rid of the old decking.
They want CPG and Azek to give up all or part of their profits from the sale of Azek decking so they could make “full restititution” to members of the class.
Plastics News said there may prove to be thousands of customers affected by the proceedings and that damages could top $5 million.