Pennsylvania Record

Monday, October 21, 2019

Class action says paint-maker breached warranty with product claims

By Jim Boyle | Oct 29, 2014

A paint manufacturers' claim that one of its products creates long-lasting coats outside surfaces with minimal maintenance is completely false, according to a class action suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by five plaintiffs from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against Rust-Oleum, headquartered in Vernon Hills, Ill., and the makers of the Restore line of paint products. According to the claim, all the plaintiffs experienced significant damage to their outdoor decking as a result of the paint's cracking, bubbling and peeling away.

The complaint was filed on behalf of any consumers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey who purchased the Restore paint, seeking damages in excess of $5 million on violations of the Magnusson-Moss Act, which protects the public from deceptive warranty practices, plus counts of unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation and breach of warranty.

According to the complaint, Rust-Oleum made several claims about the high quality of Restore, including advertisements that said the product had a durable coating "formulated to resurface most wooden and composite decks while providing lasting protection against moisture and the damaging effects of the sun."

The plaintiffs claim that Rust-Oleum has created a product that begins to fail on its first day of use. Because of the paint mixture, it takes a large amount of effort to remove the paint and replace it, plus endangering the underlying deck materials. The company offers a lifetime warranty, the claim says, but it only covers the cost of the paint, which is only a fraction of the expense to replace the product.

For example, Steve and Gina Cady of Berks County, Pa., purchased $230 worth of Restore in July 2013, based on conversations with store representatives and video demonstrations. A year after applying the paint to their outside deck, the couple noticed chipping and wearing away at several spots.

After contacting Rust-Oleum, they were told to fill out a warranty card, then received a refund for the paint, but no consideration for the substantial damage and deterioration to the deck.

It's a similar story for plaintiffs Scott Reinhart and John Riello, who used the paint and at least six months later reached out to the company to complain about product, receiving a refund for the purchase and not the full cost of repairing the damage.

The complaint says that by packaging and selling Restore, Rust-Oleum made an implicit warranty that the product would work as promised on the label and advertisements, and the plaintiffs relied on those warranties to purchase and use the paint. The defendant had a duty to disclose the foreseeable risks of using Restore, and a duty not to put defective products on the market, according to the claim.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from Audet & Partners in San Francisco, Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman in Philadelphia and Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca in Bethesda, Md.

The federal case ID is 5:14-cv-06156-LS.

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