Composite deck maker Fiberon calls class action claims 'completely false'

Comments Email Print

NEW LONDON, N.C. (March 26, 12:35 p.m. ET) — Composite decking manufacturer Fiberon LLC says that a recent class-action lawsuit filed against the company relative to the performance of a decking product it no longer manufactures contains allegations that are “completely false.”

The lawsuit charges that when the Portico brand of decking developed mold and fungus, the company failed to honor its warranty and pay for the deck to be repaired or replaced. Portico decking was sold from 2004 until it was discontinued in 2010.

“The allegations made in this lawsuit are completely false,” said Edie Kello, director of marketing communications for the New London, N.C.-based company. “Surface staining, including mold, is not a manufacturing defect. It’s a failure to comply with the recommendations we make to maintain all outdoor products.”

Fiberon “has a long record of always honoring its product warranties and will continue to do so,” said Kello in a statement issued by the company.

“Outdoor products like decking, siding, concrete and even patio furniture require periodic cleaning to keep them looking good,” she said. “It cannot be our responsibility to maintain them once they are installed.” 

Like most decking companies, Fiberon provides care and maintenance instructions to consumers that purchase its products.

Contrary to the claims made by Fiberon, the plaintiffs claim that Portico decking—which was made from a composite material comprised of wood fiber and polyethylene—has a manufacturing defect that results in extensive molding, mildew and other fungal growth that discolors the deck.

According to the lawsuit, one of the plaintiffs, David Fleisher of North Wales, Pa., alleged that his Portico deck developed fungal growth, including large black spots. Fleisher said he had the deck cleaned, but the discoloration reappeared, so he sent a letter to Fiberon asking for relief under the warranty and was told it was a maintenance issue, not a warranty issue.

The cleaning methods recommended by Fiberon do not prevent the mold from reappearing, contends the lawsuit, which was filed March 14 by the Seattle-based law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.