Home Depot and Menards have been accused of deception with regards to the four-by-four boards. The two home improvement retailers are accused of failing to specify that the actual measurements of the 4×4 board are 3.5 by 3.5 inches in a lawsuit which has been filed by two plaintiffs in Illinois’ Northern District.
“Defendant’s representations as to the dimension of these products were false and misleading,” alleges the lawsuit against Home Depot.
The retailers, however, contend that the accusations are bogus arguing that it is widely known and has been a longstanding sector practice and that what the plaintiffs are describing as actual measurements are just nominal designations. But while Eugene Turin, the lawyer who is representing the plaintiffs has acknowledged that they are nominal designations, he disputes the fact that it was common knowledge. Turin further argues that the home improvement stores should be more transparent and disclose that fact.
The plaintiffs also point out that there are inconsistencies in how the home improvement store conducts the advertising and marketing of lumber. In the case against Home Depot, the plaintiffs take note of the fact that the website of the retailer only contains the actual and correct dimensions of some products and not all of them. The plaintiffs also say that the retailers stock ‘rough’ wood products which bear the correct and full advertised dimensions.
No half inflicted
In their motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the retailers argue that the plaintiffs got their exact dues and consequently did not suffer from an injury-in-fact.
Menards also cites the minimum standards as set out by the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology and even includes a handbook issued by NIST as an exhibit. The home improvement retailer, however, fails to point out where the National Institute of Standards and Technology has allowed the use of nominal dimensions.
But while the plaintiffs may be able to win the argument that the real dimensions of lumber should have been explicitly stated, they may be unable to prove that any real damage was inflicted on them by buying lumber whose real dimensions were lower than its nominal dimensions. Home Depot also makes that argument that it is possible to buy lumber that actually measures 4 by 4 inches but it would be rough sawn. For dressed lumber to measure 4 by 4 its dimensions would initially have had to be 4.5 by 4.5 inches.