Class Action Settlement for Homeowners in Charleston County to Expand State-Wide

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Justin Lucey of Lucey Law firm and Paul Dominick of Nexsen Pruet law firm reached a class action settlement (Case # 2:05-1515-PMD) in 2008 with Louisiana Pacific for compensation to home owners and others for damaged TrimBoard on their structures. A second class action to include residents outside of Charleston, SC, is now pending.

In 2008, Justin Lucey of Lucey Law firm and Paul Dominick of Nexsen Pruet law firm reached a class action settlement (Case # 2:05-1515-PMD) in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina Charleston Division with Louisiana Pacific for compensation to home owners and others for damaged TrimBoard on their structures. The plaintiff alleged that the TrimBoard was unsuitable for exterior use, and that it often failed prematurely due to water absorption, resulting in swelling or decay. Many homeowners were negatively impacted by this defective product, including a loss in overall resale value of their homes, and a second class action to include residents outside of Charleston County, SC, is now pending.

TrimBoard is a manufactured or composite wood trim product, sometimes referred to as medium density fiberboard, which is used as trim on the exterior of structures. It comes in different widths, and is often used as trim around windows and doors, at corners of structures as corner board, as or over the band board at the base of the first floor, as fascia or soffit near the roof line, and/or as decorative trim on columns, rail posts, and along porches or stair stringers. It was sold to customers as "easier to use" and "more durable" than other trim products, despite the fact that Louisiana Pacific was aware of its defective nature, particularly with installations in coastal South Carolina, which is recognized as being in a severe weather belt. The product was commonly used during periods of rapid neighborhood development in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Prior to the settlement in Charleston County, Louisiana Pacific would inspect the house, deny any product defect, blame the installer, and then offer a small "policy" settlement for some damaged wood, at $5.00 or so per foot of damaged board.

If a homeowner has TrimBoard on their structure, the settlement provides for compensation of $17 per foot for partial replacement of damaged TrimBoard or $14 per foot for complete replacement of damaged TrimBoard, less attorney fees of one-third. The settlement also provides for a greater amount of the TrimBoard to be eligible for compensation. The Charleston County settlement received final court approval in January and class counsel is now attempting to secure similar benefits for the rest of the state in a second class action pending in the same court.

How does a homeowner discover if TrimBoard material was used on their home's exterior?

  • Call your home builder to see if they used this product on or as part of your home's exterior trim.
  • Consult your home inspector.

The law firms are continuing their investigation of the use of this defective product, as well as the company's prior knowledge of defects and lack of response to homeowners. It can take anywhere from three to seven years to see exterior damage to the trim product. Class counsel would like to hear from homeowners who are experiencing damage from this product.

Homeowners within Charleston County and in other counties in South Carolina can find more information on how to identify TrimBoard on their home and how to participate in the Class Action lawsuit at http://www.lucey-law.com/LPTrimClaims.html, at http://www.nexsenpruet.com, or by calling (843) 720-1736.

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Kelly Love Johnson
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