Lawsuits Against FieldTurf USA Consolidated into MDL
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has established a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) for lawsuits filed over allegedly defective high-end artificial turf manufactured by FieldTurf USA Inc. Plaintiffs allege that the product, installed at high schools and other athletic facilities, quickly crumbles apart. Lawsuits have been consolidated before Judge Michael A. Shipp in New Jersey, Trenton Division.
Parker Waichman LLP is a national personal injury law firm with decades of experience representing clients in product liability lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a product defect lawsuit.
Complaints state that FieldTurf USA, based in Calhoun, Georgia, made over $570 million installing artificial turf in 1,700 athletic facilities from 2005 to 2012. The turf was installed in sports venues such as soccer and baseball fields. According to the New Jersey Law Journal, product defect lawsuits were filed after NJ Advance Media published a series of articles reporting that the product was defective.
After the articles were published, FieldTurf CEO Eric Daliere released a statement noting an issue with one of its suppliers. “FieldTurf has been proactive in dealing with this problem, and began manufacturing its own fiber to ensure quality control,” Daliere stated.
FieldTurf filed a lawsuit against supplier TenCate Thiolon Middle East LLC in 2011 over an allegedly defective fiber. A settlement was reached during trial in 2014.
Plaintiffs suing FieldTurf allege the company continued to sell the turf despite knowing that it would crumble before the 10-year warranty.
The MDL consolidates over a dozen lawsuits, half of which are class action complaints. A class action lawsuit is one lawsuit filed on behalf of an entire group of plaintiffs, known collectively as the plaintiff class. The class members allege being wronged by a common defendant in the same way. In this case, plaintiffs allege that FieldTurf USA sold defective artificial turf. Oftentimes, a class action lawsuit is filed because individual claims would be too small to pursue on their own.
An MDL is a type of mass tort where similar lawsuits are grouped together in one court before one judge. Transferring cases, or consolidation, helps make the legal process more efficient because it streamlines the litigation and eliminates duplicate pretrial proceedings, conserving court resources.
According to New Jersey Law Journal, FieldTurf asked the JPML to consolidate litigation before District Judge Esther Salas of the Newark division. Judge Salas has had MDL experience.
The panel stated in its June 1, 2017 order that New Jersey is the appropriate venue for the MDL, stating “the district enjoys the support of not only FieldTurf but also some plaintiffs.” However, JPML did not choose Salas because “centralization in the District of New Jersey enables us to assign the litigation to Judge Michael A. Shipp, an able and experienced jurist who has not yet had the opportunity to preside over an MDL,”
President Barack Obama appointed Shipp to the Trenton division in 2012. NJ Law Journal reports that increasingly, JPML is giving newer judges a chance to handle an MDL for the first time.
Product Defect Lawsuit Background
Product defect lawsuits are filed when a product is defective or dangerous. Product defects generally fall into one of three main categories: design defect, manufacturing defect and marketing defect.
A design defect means that a product is inherently defective, even before it is manufactured or assembled. A manufacturing defect means that the product is made defective during the production or assembly process. A product that has a manufacturing defect may be safe in design, but deviated from the original design in the end product. Marketing defects include things such as failure to warn, inadequate labeling or insufficient instructions.
Product defect lawsuits can be filed over consumer products, as well medical products such as drugs and medical devices. Oftentimes, product defect lawsuits filed over drug injuries allege that the manufacturers failed to warn about the risk of a side effect.
Under product liability law, manufacturers are liable for products that cause harm.
Lawsuits filed over consumer fraud allege that the plaintiff suffered a loss because the defendant engaged in deceptive or unfair business practices. In this case, plaintiffs allege that FieldTurf intentionally sold defective turf for financial gain.
Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit
If you or someone you know suffered injuries due to a defective or dangerous product, you may have valuable legal rights. Our product defect lawyers offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).