Lawsuits Say That 2x4s Aren’t Big Enough

By on June 29, 2017
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June 30, 2017

Two putative class actions filed in the Northern District of Illinois have received a lot of  media coverage, from US Today to FineHomebuilding, and most of it’s been pretty negative. The complaint in the suit targeting Home Depot alleges the named plaintiff bought a six foot 4X4 and upon returning home found it was only 3.5 x 3.5. That’s 23 percent smaller than was advertised, says the complaint. This type of discrepancy, it says, carries though on all the so-called dimensional lumber, and even the common 2 x 4 is in fact 1.5 x 3.5. In short, the products “sold by Defendant do not actually have the same dimensions as stated on Defendant’s in-store shelf tags and signage, labels, flyers, and other advertisements.” Critics point out it’s well known by much of the public and virtually all do-it-yourselfers and tradespeople that the “nominal” dimensions of dimensional lumber are not the actual dimensions, and that the actual dimensions are known, standardized and relied upon by builders and architects. The common explanation, no doubt at one time true and probably still true more or less, is that the nominal dimension refers to the rough cut lumber before it’s planed.  A scathing critique from the Above the Law blog maintains that some recent “size” lawsuits do have merit, but that these two cases – the one targeting Home Depot, the other Menards – are not among them, and they “run the risk of poisoning the well against the serious ones.” Nonetheless, it predicts, “the retailers will probably end up settling these and adding a disclaimer in fine print explaining the actual size.”

One Comment

  1. Andrew Velonis

    June 30, 2017 at 9:17 am

    This is stupid. Anybody who knows anything about lumber knows that the actual 2″x4″ refers to rough-cut, and that what you normally use is planed. It’s like the “quarter-pounder” before cooking. If the Plaintiffs are represented, then shame on the attorneys who took on this frivolous lawsuit, it’s the kind of foolish litigation that makes lawyers look bad.

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