Trex Co. Inc. is the target of a class-action suit that alleges product defects.
The suit alleges that the company's Trex and Timbrex products rot, splinter and degrade as a result of inherent defects in the manufacturing process.
Officials of the Winchester, Va., wood-plastic composite extruder said the claims are unfounded.
The Superior Court of New Jersey in Essex County certified the lawsuit May 28.
The suit covers consumers who bought the products from 1992-2004, according to Marc Kramer, a lawyer based in Short Hills, N.J. The suit also names ExxonMobil Corp. of Irving, Texas, because Mobil Chemical Co. sold products under the Timbrex brand name before it spun off Trex as a separate firm.
Plaintiffs want the companies to cover the cost of repair, replacement and sealants, rather than merely providing replacement products.
``Trex argued at great length the position that their product was not defective ... and the court rejected Trex's argument in that regard,'' Kramer said in a June 8 telephone interview.
William Gupp, vice president and general counsel of Trex, noted there has been no decision on the merits of the case.
``The court has not held that Trex product is defective,'' Gupp wrote in a June 7 e-mail response. ``All the court held (we believe erroneously) was that a small group of individuals, represented by one counsel, could combine together to bring their claims to court, as opposed to having to bring individual claims.
``The plaintiffs have not presented, and the court has not considered, any evidence concerning defects in Trex products,'' he said.
``If the appellate court does not reverse the class certification decision, the plaintiffs will then have to produce actual evidence of defects in Trex products, and we will have the opportunity to defend these allegations.''