Rotting House Trim Leads to Lawsuit Against Georgia-Pacific


A proposed class action was just filed in Florida federal court and brought against Georgia-Pacific LLC (GP) over its PrimeTrim home exterior trim.

The lawsuit alleges marketing for the PrimeTrim home exterior trim was deceptive, said Law360. Georgia-Pacific touted its PrimeTrim as being stronger than timber; however, it allegedly rots prematurely and leads to structural damage.

Plaintiffs James L. Mace and Marshall A. Reddy say Georgia-Pacific deceived homeowners when they promised that PrimeTrim is free from the normal defects found in typical timber, said Law360. Georgia-Pacific also promised a 30-year warranty that provides for replacements or repairs. According to the lawsuit, Georgia-Pacific has not honored any of its promises. Jordan Lucas Chaikin of the national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, represents both plaintiffs.

As we’ve written, PrimeTrim, first manufactured in 1992, is made of processed wood fiber and pre-treated with resin. The product has been marketed as an alternative to wood for interior and exterior trim and Georgia-Pacific’s marketing materials for PrimeTrim state that the product “has none of the normal defects found in lumber, such as knots, splits, checks, and wane.”

The complaint states that, “PrimeTrim is not more durable than traditional lumber, does not look great for years without frequent repainting or caulking, and does not withstand the sun, rain, snow or time.” Worse, notes the complaint, “Indeed, at the time of leaving GP’s control, PrimeTrim contains a known defect because it prematurely deteriorates, rots, swells, buckles.”

According to its advertising, Georgia-Pacific’s PrimeTrim can be installed “wherever nonstructural wood trim can be used,” the complaint alleges. The complaint also alleges that Georgia Pacific touts PrimeTrim as being four times more decay-resistant than lumber; as outperforming lumber through two years of direct sun, rain, and snow exposure; and of having more than 15 years of proven performance, said Law360.

Mace and Reddy installed PrimeTrim in 2005, according to the lawsuit, and allege that PrimeTrim absorbs water and warps; easily becomes infested with insects; colonizes mold, mildew, and fungi that cause the trim to deteriorate, which leads to homes lined with PrimeTrim suffering from structural damage, said Law360. The complaint notes that all of these problems take place even when PrimeTrim is installed in accordance with accepted construction practices.

The complaint also point out that the damage is particularly destructive when PrimeTrim absorbs water. That absorption creates an irreversible swelling—which is different than what occurs when wood swells—leading to damage of the trim and any material near that trim. Meanwhile, said Law360 citing the complaint, Georgia-Pacific guarantees that PrimeTrim will not crack, chip, or split in a way that would significantly hamper its usability, or buckle, shrink, or swell in such a way that would substantially affect its appearance within 30 years from when it is installed. The lawsuit also says that Georgia-Pacific said it promised, at its discretion, to either repair or replace defective trim or provide cash payments to impacted homeowners so that they could conduct the repairs, wrote Law360.

Mace and Reddy allege that they submitted warranty claims to Georgia-Pacific in May and September 2012, respectively and were notified that Georgia-Pacific had received their claims. Both plaintiffs allege they never received any follow-up and that Georgia-Pacific never tested the PrimeTrim version that have been sold, said Law360. The plaintiffs seek to bring their lawsuit on behalf of a class of Florida homeowners who own or have owned homes in which PrimeTrim was installed. This group, said the complaint, could number in the thousands, wrote Law360. The case is James L. Mace et al. v. Georgia-Pacific LLC et al., case number 3:13-cv-00328, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

This is not the first time complaints have been alleged by PrimeTrim homeowners who describe:

·      Deterioration

·      Rotting

·      Swelling

·      Buckling

·      Splitting

·      Delamination

·      Water absorption


If not corrected, these alleged PrimeTrim defects could lead to water, structural, and interior and exterior property damage. Such damage will potentially cost PrimeTrim homeowners thousands of dollars to repair.

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