Cases & Investigations

Weyerhaeuser Lawsuit: TJI Joists with Flak Jacket

PRACTICE AREAS: Defective Products
PRODUCT: Weyerhaeuser TJI Joists with Flak Jacket
CASE STATUS: Pending

Attention: Anyone who purchased Weyerhaeuser’s TJI Joists with Flak Jacket after December 1, 2016.

Berger & Montague, P.C. has filed class action complaints in Colorado, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania on behalf of consumers who purchased Weyerhaeuser’s TJI Joists with Flak Jacket. People who have this joist in their homes have reported that it produces an odor and may suffer from other defects in its formulation.

If you purchased Weyerhaeuser’s TJI Joists with Flak Jacket and are interested in discussing the class action, please contact Rachel Gebo at rgebo@bm.net or (612) 594-5998.

About the case

What is the status of the lawsuits that Berger & Montague is prosecuting?

Berger & Montague is representing homeowners and home purchasers throughout the United States regarding their issues with Weyerhaeuser’s defective TJI Joists with Flak Jacket Protection (the “TJI Joists”). On behalf of our clients, we have filed six class action lawsuits in federal courts in Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. We have been requested to file and are preparing additional cases in several additional states.

In addition, we have been requested to individually represent over 100 families (and the list is growing everyday) across the country who are dealing with this situation with respect to all matters including:

  • economic damages
  • property damage
  • breach of contract
  • breach of express and implied warranties
  • consumer fraud
  • unjust enrichment
  • moving and storage expenses
  • additional mortgage and rent payments, and utility bills
  • remediation
  • loss of use and enjoyment
  • reduction in home value
  • nuisance and trespass
  • negligence
  • strict liability
  • injuries suffered as a result of exposure to the TJI Joists and formaldehyde gasses.
  • fear of developing illness and disease
  • emotional distress
  • pain and suffering
  • loss of earnings
  • medical monitoring
  • punitive damages

Our team of lawyers, investigators and experts has been working on these cases since right after Weyerhaeuser issued its July 18, 2017 press release that first provided public notice regarding this matter. We have conducted an extensive investigation and have expended thousands of hours of time on collecting documents and information from our clients and other parties in the states where the TJI Joists were installed. We have retained expert environmental engineers and industrial hygienists who are knowledgeable regarding formaldehyde off-gassing and indoor air quality, and are also consulting with medical experts. We are continuing to collect and analyze relevant information, including from Weyerhaeuser and builders across the country. Our clients have houses that were built by over 30 builders and we have instructed all of them in writing to preserve relevant information and evidence. It is important that our clients’ decisions be fully informed and based on hard facts.

Copies of the class action complaints we have filed to date are available for free download at the bottom of this page. We will continue to post important case documents and other important case information on this webpage as it becomes available.

What remediation options exist and what does Berger & Montague recommend?

Based on our investigation to date, we believe that homes containing TJI Joists with Flak Jacket Protection are not safe for human habitation. It is apparent that everyone agrees with this important point because Weyerhaeuser and builders around the country are taking steps to remediate all affected homes.

Thus, the first step for anyone still residing in such a home is to temporarily relocate until the home is remediated. You may contact Weyerhaeuser’s Customer Care team to arrange relocation plans.

The current remediation options are set forth at https://www.weyerhaeuser.com/builderfj. The remediation options include:

A. Top Coat Solution (i.e., the “secret” paint protocol).

Weyerhaeuser admits that their Top Coat Solution is not a barrier for the formaldehyde in the product but rather a “scavenger” system.

This is important, as scavenger systems rely on the presence of a reactive chemical in the coating to capture and attempt to remove the formaldehyde being emitted by the Flak Jacket coating.

If there are too few scavenger molecules to capture all of the formaldehyde molecules that will be emitted over the life of the product, then the scavenger system will eventually become saturated and cease to prevent formaldehyde emitted from the Flak Jacket from entering the indoor air. An analogy would be, that the coating is a sponge. You can only put so much moisture in the sponge before it starts dripping.

Importantly, to date, Weyerhaeuser has refused to disclose the chemical ingredients in their “secret” paint Top Coat Solution. Thus, experts are unsure how effective the Top Coat Solution will be and it will perform over time. Moreover, homeowners are unable to know what type of additional chemicals are being placed into their homes.

If the homeowner accepts this remediation protocol, we strongly recommend that you communicate with us to schedule independent post-remediation air testing. We further recommend an independent routine testing protocol for the life of the product.

B. Coating Removal Solution (i.e., the removal of some of the Flak Jacket coating using mechanical methods including dry ice, scraping, sanding and micro-planning, followed by the Top Coat Solution described above).

This is a more intensive process than the Top Coat Solution described above. The Coating Removal Solution removes some of the Flak Jacket and follows with the Top Coat Solution. However, as mentioned above, Weyerhaeuser has refused to disclose the chemical ingredients in their “secret” paint Top Coat Solution. Thus, experts are unsure how effective the Top Coat Solution will be and it will perform over time. Moreover, homeowners are unable to know what type of additional chemicals are being placed into their homes.

If the owner accepts this remediation protocol, we strongly recommend that you communicate with us to schedule independent post-remediation air testing. We further recommend an independent routine testing protocol for the life of the product.

C. Replacement Solution (i.e., the removal and replacement of the affected TJI Joists).

Out of the three proposed solutions from Weyerhaeuser, the Replacement Solution is the only one that is known to stop the TJI Joists from emitting any formaldehyde in the home in the future.

This solution is more expensive and time intensive. If the owner accepts this remediation protocol, we strongly recommendation that you contact us to discuss your situation, and insure that there will be a licensed professional Civil Engineer who oversees the removal and replacement of the TJI Joists.

While we understand that homeowners and home purchasers would like to be able to enjoy their new home as soon as possible, we cannot at this time, recommend one remediation option over the others, though we can stress that the Replacement Solution is the only one that is known to stop the TJI Joists from emitting any formaldehyde in the home in the future. We have requested that Weyerhaeuser share scientific support for the Top Coat Solution and Coating Removal Solution but to date, Weyerhaeuser has refused to produce the information and make it available to our independent experts.

At this time, our position is that homeowners and home purchasers should wait to make any remediation decision until our law firm and experts have been provided with the materials we have requested from Weyerhaeuser and had an opportunity to conduct our own analysis of these materials. We understand this is a difficult situation and ultimately, the decision of what to do with your home is up to you.

What are builders around the country doing about remediation?

To date, builders have taken widely different approaches with respect to remediation of homes containing TJI Joists with Flak Jacket Protection. Below is information we have about some of the largest builders and how they are reacting to this serious issue:

  • Richmond American – Richmond American has announced that it is removing and replacing all TJI Joists with Flak Jacket Protection from all affected homes that it has built. This even includes homes where the construction has already been completed.
  • Toll Brothers – Toll Brothers has announced that it is using a more intensive variation of the Coating Removal Solution described above, involving cryo blasting of the Flak Jacket coating, followed by the Top Coat Solution. Click here to view the announcement by Toll Brothers.
  • CalAtlantic – CalAtlantic has announced that it is using a more intensive variation of the Coating Removal Solution described above, involving cryo blasting of the Flak Jacket coating, followed by the Top Coat Solution. Click here to view the announcement by CalAtlantic.

Should I speak directly with Weyerhaeuser or my builder about remediation without a lawyer present?

It is our strong recommendation that you do not speak directly to Weyerhaeuser or your builder about remediation without having your lawyer present. Our concerns are heightened by the fact that we have been informed that in September 2017, Weyerhaeuser changed its policy of not requiring legal releases of claims, and has begun to solicit legal releases from affected homeowners and home purchasers. We believe that it is improper for numerous reasons for Weyerhaeuser to solicit legal releases of claims as a condition of remediation of their known defective product. We further believe that homeowners and home purchasers are potentially being asked to release significant legal rights as a condition to just getting their houses fixed. No legal release of claims should be signed or executed without consultation with a lawyer.

If you do choose to speak to Weyerhaeuser about remediation, please be advised that the discussion may affect your legal rights. Please contact us to discuss your situation regarding remediation.

What types of damages is Berger & Montague seeking?

The goal of the lawsuits we have filed is to make our clients and all affected homeowners and home purchasers whole and to seek all available money damages from Weyerhaeuser regarding the defective TJI Joists with Flak Jacket Protection.

Weyerhaeuser manufactured and sold poisonous TJI Joists that off-gassed excessive levels of a known carcinogen – formaldehyde – and placed this product into the homes of our clients and their families. This exposed men, women and children to the dangerous formaldehyde gasses. The scientific literature regarding formaldehyde is well known and studied. Formaldehyde exposures has been linked to numerous medical ailments in humans.

Moreover, the sale of these defective TJI Joists have turned thousands of families into refugees living out of hotels, motels and other temporary housing. As a result, families have lost the use and enjoyment of their homes and have suffered extreme distress.

We are seeking money damages for the following claims against Weyerhaeuser, as well as applicable statutory damages and penalties, and all other available money damages under the law:

  • economic damages
  • property damage
  • breach of contract
  • breach of express and implied warranties
  • consumer fraud
  • unjust enrichment
  • moving and storage expenses
  • additional mortgage and rent payments, and utility bills
  • remediation
  • loss of use and enjoyment
  • reduction in home value
  • nuisance and trespass
  • negligence
  • strict liability
  • injuries suffered as a result of exposure to the TJI Joists and formaldehyde gasses.
  • fear of developing illness and disease
  • emotional distress
  • pain and suffering
  • loss of earnings
  • medical monitoring
  • punitive damages

Furthermore, we are seeking to ensure that through the imposition of injunctive relief and additional extended and long-term warranties, that our clients will have peace of mind in the future regarding the safety of their homes.

Will my home be worth less because of these joists?

We are aware of the potential diminution of value of the affected homes that contained TJI Joists with Flak Jacket Protection, even after remediation (especially if the Top Coat Solution or Coating Removal Solution are utilized, which potentially results in the Flak Jacket coating remaining in the home). Different states may also require disclosure that formaldehyde was present in the home and of the method by which it was remediated. We are investigating this closely and will continue to do so as our cases progress. To the extent that home values are diminished, we believe that homeowners should receive compensation for that diminution of value.

Why should I retain Berger & Montague?

Berger & Montague, P.C. is a national plaintiffs’ law firm based in Philadelphia with additional offices in Minneapolis and Washington D.C. The Firm litigates consumer protection cases in federal and state courts throughout the United States and employs over 65 attorneys. The Firm has played lead roles in major cases for over 47 years, resulting in recoveries of over $30 billion for its clients. The Firm’s attorneys have extensive experience representing injured parties in product liability disputes. Further information about the Firm can be found at www.bergermontague.com.

Our law firm has been investigating and prosecuting this litigation in multiple states across the United States beginning right after the July 18, 2017 announcement by Weyerhaeuser of the problems with the TJI Joists. We have numerous attorneys, investigators, staff and experts working on this matter. We have retained numerous air testing companies to assist in air quality testing around the country.

If you retain Berger & Montague, you will be a client of our Firm. This means that our attorneys will be able to represent you, not only with respect to the class action claims that apply to all similarly situated homeowners and home purchasers as they relate to the TJI Joists, but also with respect to your individual claims that you or your family members may have as a result of exposure to the TJI Joists.

How long do you expect this case to take?

We do not know at this time – in our experience, litigation like this case typically last 2-3 years on average, and sometimes longer. Of course, cases can last a considerably shorter amount of time if the parties resolve the case through settlement. We hope to work with Weyerhaeuser to reach a fair and just settlement for this litigation.

Will Berger & Montague assist in the negotiation of relocation expense payments?

Yes, our Firm has and will continue to make sure that our clients receive the relocation expense payments that they are entitled to from Weyerhaeuser.

Will Weyerhaeuser or my builder buy my home back?

So far, some builders have offered to purchase some affected homes. We are also aware of builders that have indicated a willingness to cancel pending purchase agreements of houses containing TJI Joists with Flak Jacket Protection that have not yet closed. We are involved in those discussions on behalf of our clients.

Do household items absorb formaldehyde?

We are investigating this claim and working with expert consultants to determine the extent to which formaldehyde is absorbed by other household items and other structural components of homes.

If I choose for my TJI Joists to be removed and replaced, how can the structural integrity of my home be confirmed?

It is important that the structural integrity of any homes where the TJI Joists have been removed and replaced is verified by a professional structural engineer. This cost should be borne by Weyerhaeuser. We are working to ensure that Weyerhaeuser and/or the builders provide an inspection, verification, and appropriate extended and long-term warranties with any removal and/or replacement of TJI Joists.

If I have my TJI Joists remediated, what are my disclosure obligations if I sell my home?

We are investigating this and will update this FAQ shortly with this information.

If I am presented with paperwork and a legal release of claims in association with remediation, should I sign it?

No. Berger & Montague is here to assist you with the review of any such paperwork for any Class member in the United States, free of charge, whether or not you signed a retainer agreement with our Firm. We can then advise you whether signing any papers could potentially waive your legal rights.

Given the potential long-term health effects of formaldehyde, it is extremely important that you do not unwittingly waive your legal rights.

We strongly recommend that you do not sign any legal release of claims without first consulting with our law firm or another lawyer with knowledge of this litigation. If you sign something, you may be releasing valuable legal claims that you or your family members may have.

Case Documents

Lead Attorneys

Shanon J. Carson

Managing Shareholder
E. Michelle Drake Headshot

E. Michelle Drake

Shareholder
Lawrence Deutsch Headshot

Lawrence Deutsch

Shareholder

Associates

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