Trex Company Settles Class Action Lawsuit Relating to First-Generation Composites
WINCHESTER, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Trex Company, Inc. (NYS: TREX) , the world's largest manufacturer of high-performance wood-alternative decking and railing, announced that on August 19, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted preliminary approval of a Settlement Agreement that will resolve a nationwide class action lawsuit filed in California alleging certain misrepresentations and defects in Trex's first-generation composite products relating to mold growth and color issues.
Under the terms of the settlement, Trex will provide to qualified claimants a one-time cash payment or the opportunity to receive other relief, including a rebate certificate on its newer-generation shelled products (Trex Transcend® and Trex Enhance®). This relief would be available for any eligible consumer whose first-generation composite product has a certain level of mold growth, color fading or color variation and who meets certain other requirements, as set forth in the Settlement Agreement. The settlement applies to any Trex first-generation composite product purchased between August 1, 2004 and the date on which the Court enters its Order granting preliminary approval of the settlement. The claim resolution process and other terms of the settlement are described in the Settlement Agreement and class notice, which will soon be available on www.trex.com/legal/2013classactionsettlement.aspx. The cost to Trex under the settlement is capped at $8.25 million plus $1.475 million in attorneys' fees to be paid to the Plaintiffs' counsel upon final approval of the settlement by the Court.
"Our decision to settle the case is by no means an admission of any of the allegations made by the plaintiffs," said Ronald Kaplan, chairman, president and CEO of Trex. "Trex has steadfastly denied any liability and we were fully prepared to defend our position. We strongly believe we would have prevailed; however, we settled on terms that we feel benefit both our consumers and Trex. This settlement allows our company to avoid additional expensive, time-consuming litigation and to focus on delivering quality products and service to consumers, while providing certain relief to those customers affected by these issues."
"The growth of mold on first-generation composite decks is not exclusive to Trex and is not due to any defect in the material. Rather, these issues are the result of environmental conditions that affect all outdoor surfaces. Trex fully discloses that Trex boards, like any exterior surface, require periodic cleaning, and mold growth may occur if the necessary environmental conditions are present. We also include instructions on how to clean mold both on our website and in collateral materials. In addition, we clearly communicate to consumers that the original wood-plastic composite product, similar to real wood, develops a naturally weathered look over time and to expect color variation between boards.
"Although this information is and has been readily provided and available, for a very small percentage of our consumers, their expectations for our first-generation composite products may not have been fully met due to mold problems and/or color fading or color variation. This settlement will provide certain relief to eligible consumers who have not been fully satisfied.
"Similar class action lawsuits have been brought against a number of Trex's competitors, and one company has previously settled such a case.
"For consumers who want decking that offers higher performance and less maintenance than the first-generation composite products, we developed and introduced Trex Transcend® in 2010. This revolutionary product has a proprietary shell that provides superior fade, stain, scratch and mold resistance. We even provide a warranty against food and mold staining, and color fading. More recently, we introduced two additional high-performance shelled decking collections, Trex Enhance® and Trex Select®.
"These new products now can be found in many backyards and are being enjoyed by consumers across the nation," added Kaplan. "By the end of 2013, high-performance shelled decking, such as Transcend, Enhance and Select will be all that Trex makes."
About Trex Company
Trex Company is the world's largest manufacturer of high performance wood-alternative decking and railing, with more than 20 years of product experience. Stocked in more than 6,000 retail locations worldwide, Trex outdoor living products offer a wide range of style options with fewer ongoing maintenance requirements than wood, as well as a truly environmentally responsible choice. For more information, visit trex.com. You also can follow Trex on Twitter (@Trex_Company) or Pinterest (trexcompany), "like" Trex on Facebook, or view product and demonstration videos on the brand's YouTube channel (TheTrexCo.).
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