Class action vs Home Depot: Consumers overpay for lumber that doesn't measure up

By Jonathan Bilyk | Mar 9, 2017

An Illinois man has sought to nail one of the largest home improvement retailers in the country with a class action lawsuit, asserting they should be made to pay for selling two-by-fours and other pieces of lumber that don't measure up to their listed dimensions.

On March 8, plaintiff Mikhail Abramov filed his complaint in Chicago federal court against The Home Depot, asserting the way the Atlanta, Ga.-based retailer sells lumber is not just an open secret in the construction trades, but a violation of consumer fraud laws.

Abramov is represented in the lawsuit by attorneys with the McGuire Law P.C. firm, of Chicago.

In the lawsuit, Abramov asserts he purchased a piece of “dimensional lumber” sold at Home Depot’s store in Palatine store in December 2016. While the label had asserted the lumber measured four inches wide by four inches high and six feet long (4X4x6), Abramov said when he measured the lumber piece at home, its actual dimensions were 3.5x3.5x6, “which was 12.5 percent shorter in height and width, and approximately 23 percent less overall material than advertised  and represented by (Home Depot).”

Abramov alleged the practice of shorting customers of the dimensional lumber pieces they purchase is common at Home Depot. The complaint noted, for instance, “the most commonly used 2” x 4” – 8’ framing lumber actually measures 1.5” x 3.5” – 8’.”

“Nowhere does Defendant state that the advertised dimensions are not the actual dimensions of the products, that the advertised dimensions were ‘nominal’ dimensions, or anything else to indicate that the products’ actual dimensions differ from those explicitly stated on the advertising and product labeling,” Abramov’s complaint said.

The complaint asserts Abramov and other potential plaintiffs “would not have purchased the dimensional lumber products … or would have paid materially less for them, had they known that Defendant’s representations as to the dimensions of these products were false and misleading.”

The complaint asserts Home Depot has profited from its “false marketing and sale” of the lumber, but does not specify how.

Abramov’s complaint asks the court to allow him to expand the lawsuit to include everyone in the U.S. who purchased lumber from Home Depot, as well as to create a special subclass of Illinois plaintiffs who purchased lumber at Home Depot in the past three years.

The lawsuit asks the court to award unspecified actual and compensatory damages, or to order Home Depot to disgorge “all funds unjustly retained … as a result of its unfair and deceptive practices.” The complaint also requests attorney fees, and jury trial.

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McGuire Law PC U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

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