Smith, et al. v. Floor & Decor Outlets of America, Inc.
www.FDSettlement.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Helpful Hint: Using the general subject of your question may provide the best search results. For example, enter the word "hearing" in the search box to find information about the Settlement's Fairness Hearing.

1. Why is there a notice?

The Court authorized notice because you have a right to know about the proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement.

United States District Court Judge Eleanor L. Ross in the Northern District of Georgia, is in charge of this case, and the case is called Smith et al. v. Floor & Decor Outlets of America, Inc., Case No. 1:15-cv-04316-ELR. The people who sued are called the Plaintiffs, and the company they sued, Floor and Decor Outlets of America, Inc., is called the Defendant. This website explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.

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2. What is this lawsuit about?

The lawsuit claims that the Defendant sold certain Chinese-made laminate flooring that did not comply with California Air Resources Board standards for formaldehyde emissions and falsely represented that the flooring complied with these standards. The Plaintiffs’ Complaint, Settlement Agreement, and other case-related documents are posted on the Court Documents tab on this website. The Settlement resolves the lawsuit. The Court has not decided who is right.

The Defendant denies any and all wrongdoing of any kind whatsoever, and denies any liability to Plaintiffs and to the settlement class. The Defendant stands by the safety and labeling of its products and maintains that all of its products comply with all applicable laws and regulations. The lawsuit does not allege that the flooring has caused anyone to suffer any personal injuries to date, and the settlement does not include or release any personal injury claims.

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3. Why is this a class action?

In a class action, one or more people, called “Class Representatives” (in this case Bridget Smith, Rene Tan, Victor Castaneda, Krisada Lueamrung, Damon Lovett, and William Chalk) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. Together, all these people with similar claims (except for those who exclude themselves) are members of the “Settlement Class.”

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4. Why is there a settlement?

The Court did not decide which side was right or whether the claims have any merit. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement to avoid the costs and risks of further litigation and provide benefits to Class Members. The settlement does not mean that a Court found that Defendant broke any laws or did anything wrong. The Class Representatives and the lawyers representing them (called “Class Counsel”) believe that the settlement is in the best interests of all Class Members.

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5. How do I know if I am in the settlement?

You are in the “Settlement Class” if you are a current owner of Chinese-made laminate flooring sold by the Defendant between January 1, 2012 and August 1, 2015. If you received a Postcard and/or an E-mail with a Claim Number, then you may be part of the Settlement Class and entitled to make a claim for the benefits available under the Settlement. If you did not get a Postcard and/or E-mail regarding the Settlement, you will need to review the SKU number listed on your store receipt or packaging label to determine if your flooring is included in the settlement. A “SKU number” is simply a series of numbers that provides important information about your flooring. An example of a store receipt, invoice, and packaging label that shows how to find your SKU number is available here.

You may also be able to obtain a Claim Number by calling the settlement administrator, toll-free, at 1(888) 339-3891.

If you are unable to locate your receipt, you may be able to obtain a copy from the store where you bought the flooring.

The list of SKU numbers that are included in the settlement is available here – simply type in your SKU number to see if you qualify for cash, store credit, or if you need to submit a flooring sample for testing. You can also determine if you are a Settlement Class Member by checking to see if your flooring products’ SKU or name is listed in either Exhibit B or Exhibit C to the Long Form Notice. You can also simply submit your completed Claim Form, and the Claims Administrator will inform you if you need to submit a flooring sample. The settlement includes two groups called the Non-Testing and the Testing Subclasses. Your SKU number will determine to which Subclass you belong.

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6. What if I am still not sure if I am included in the settlement?

If you are not sure whether you are a Settlement Class Member, or have any other questions about the Settlement Agreement, review the information contained on this website, or contact the settlement administrator, toll-free, at 1(888) 339-3891. You also may send questions to the Settlement Administrator at Smith v. FD, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 10309, Dublin, OH 43017-5909.

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7. What does the settlement provide?

If the settlement is approved, the Defendant will fund up to fourteen million dollars ($14,000,000) plus certain product testing costs that may be incurred. There are two different groups of Settlement Class Members referred to as Testing Subclass Members and Non-Testing Subclass Members. You can determine which group you fall into by comparing your SKU number to the list of products attached to the Long Form Notice as Exhibit B and Exhibit C (if your product is listed in Exhibit B then you are in the Non-Testing Subclass, if in Exhibit C you are in the Testing Subclass, and if not listed then you are not a Settlement Class Member), or by typing in your SKU number here. The settlement administrator will also inform you if you are part of the Testing Subclass if you submit a Claim Form. Non-Testing Subclass members who timely submit valid claim forms (see Question 8) may elect to receive a cash payment or a store credit card. Testing Subclass members must submit a flooring sample for testing to determine whether they are eligible to receive a cash payment or a store credit card (see Question 10). The amount of benefit you may receive depends on the amount of flooring you purchased from the Defendant.

If, after subtracting from the fourteen million dollars ($14,000,000), referenced above, the service payments for the Class Representatives, attorneys’ fees and costs, notice and administration costs, and certain product testing expenses, the funds remaining are insufficient to pay all of the approved claims, the claims administrator shall proportionately reduce the amount of the benefit due each settlement class member, such that the entire fund is paid out. If there is any money remaining in the fund after all claims, payments for the class representatives, attorneys’ fees and costs, notice and administration costs, and certain product testing expenses are paid, the remaining amount will revert to the Defendant.

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8. What can I get from the settlement?

Defendant has agreed to fund up to fourteen million dollars ($14,000,000) plus certain testing costs to resolve the case. Class Members who qualify and timely submit completed claim forms, along with a valid Claim Number or Proof of Purchase, may elect to receive a cash payment of $1.50 per square foot, or a store credit of $3.00 per square foot, based upon the total square footage of the qualifying product you purchased, or is currently installed in your home or building, but was not returned. Testing Subclass Members who wish to receive the benefits referenced above must submit a flooring sample for testing, and are only entitled to receive one of the settlement benefit options above if formaldehyde emissions from their flooring exceed 0.084 parts per million. Instructions for submitting flooring samples for testing will be provided to you once you submit your claim.

Settlement Class Members who use the product in a commercial or other, non-residential setting are not entitled to receive benefits for more than 5,000 square feet, regardless of the amount of product purchased or used.

If, after subtracting from the $14 million referenced above (see Question 7) the payments for the Class Representatives, attorneys’ fees and costs, notice and administration costs, and certain product testing expenses, the funds remaining are insufficient to pay all of the approved claims, the claims administrator shall proportionately reduce the amount of the benefit due each settlement class member, such that the entire fund is paid out.

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9. What am I giving up to stay in the Class?

Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you can’t sue the Defendant, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant about the legal issues in this case. It also means that all of the decisions by the Court will bind you. The Release is described more fully in the Settlement Agreement and describes exactly the legal claims that you give up if you stay in the Class. The Settlement Agreement is available here.

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10. How can I receive benefits?

To receive benefits, all Class Members must complete the Claim Form and provide a valid Claim Number or a Proof of Purchase. You can get a Claim Form here, by calling 1(888) 339-3891, or by writing to the address below:

Smith v. FD
c/o GCG
P.O. Box 10309
Dublin, OH 43017-5909

Please read the instructions carefully, fill out the Claim Form, submit it electronically or mail to the claims administrator postmarked no later than March 7, 2017 to Smith v. FD, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 10309, Dublin, OH 43017-5909. On the SKU Lookup page on this website, you can find an example of a store receipt, invoice and packaging label to help you determine the important information required to submit a valid claim.

After you submit a Claim Form, along with your Claim Number or Proof of Purchase, the settlement administrator will inform you whether you are in the Testing Subclass and provide you with instructions to submit a sample for testing. If you are a Testing Subclass member and wish to be eligible to receive benefits, you must also submit a flooring sample for testing by an appointed third party laboratory and the test must show that formaldehyde emissions from the sample exceed 0.084 parts per million.

There is a limit of one claim per location where the product is installed. Class Members who use the product in a commercial or other non-residential setting are not entitled to receive benefits for more than 5,000 square feet, regardless of the amount of product purchased or used.

If you do not submit a valid Claim Form and Claim Number or Proof of Purchase by the deadline, you will not receive benefits. Those Settlement Class Members who have a valid Claim Number need not submit a Proof of Purchase.

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11. When will I get my benefits?

On April 17, 2017, Settlement benefits were distributed to Settlement Class Members who submitted valid and approved claims. Pursuant to the term of the Settlement, Settlement Class Members who elected the Store Credit Option received their awards in the form of a Floor & Decor Gift Card and Settlement Class Members who elected the Cash Option were sent a check. If you are an eligible Settlement Class Member who has not received their award by May 1, 2017, please contact administrator@FDSettlement.com regarding the status of your payment. If you have additional questions about the Settlement, please contact the Administrator by email at administrator@FDSettlement.com.

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12. How do I get out of the settlement?

If you don’t want a payment, but you want to keep the right to sue the Defendant over the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out of this settlement. This is called asking to be excluded from—or sometimes “opting out” of—the settlement class. To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must complete and mail to the Claims Administrator a letter that includes the following:

  • Your name, address, and telephone number;
  • The number of square feet of Chinese-made flooring sold by Floor & Decor that you purchased, installed, or used;
  • The name of the case (Smith et al. v. Floor & Decor Outlets of America, Inc., Case No. 1:15-cv-04316-ELR);
  • A statement that you want to be excluded from this settlement; and
  • Your signature.

You must mail your exclusion request, postmarked no later than November 21, 2016 to:

Smith v. FD
c/o GCG
P.O. Box 10309
Dublin, OH 43017-5909

If you don’t submit your Request for Exclusion on time, you will remain a Class Member and will not be able to sue the Defendant about the claims in this lawsuit. You may opt out of the Settlement Class only for yourself. So-called “mass” or “class” opt outs, whether filed by third parties on behalf of a “mass” or “class” of Settlement Class Members or multiple Class Members where no personal statement has been signed by each and every individual Settlement Class Member, are not allowed.

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13. If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue the Defendant for the same thing later?

No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the Defendant for the claims that this settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit.

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14. If I exclude myself, can I still get benefits?

No. You will not receive any benefits from the Settlement if you exclude yourself. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, do not send in a Claim Form asking for benefits.

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15. How can I tell the Court if I do not like the settlement?

If you are a Class Member, you can object to the Settlement or to Class Counsel's request for attorneys' fees and expenses. To object, you must send a letter that includes the following:

  • Your name, address, telephone number, and, if available, email address;
  • The name, address, email address, and telephone number of your lawyer, if you have one, including any former or current counsel who may be entitled to compensation for any reason related to the objection;
  • The name of the case (Smith et al. v. Floor & Decor Outlets of America, Inc., Case No. 1:15-cv-04316-ELR);
  • The reasons you object to the settlement, accompanied by any legal support for your objection;
  • A statement of whether you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing, either with or without counsel;
  • A statement verifying under penalty of perjury your membership in the Class, including all information required by the Claim Form;
  • All other information required by the Court’s order of September 8, 2016 preliminarily approving the settlement, which is available on the Court Documents page on this website, and
  • Your signature and, if you have one, your lawyer’s signature.

Your objection, along with any supporting material you wish to submit, must be filed with the Court, with a copy delivered to the Claims Administrator, Class Counsel, and Defendant’s Counsel postmarked no later than November 21, 2016 at the following addresses:

Claims Administrator Class Counsel Defendant’s Counsel
Smith v. FD
c/o GCG
P.O. Box 10309
Dublin, OH 43017-5909
Daniel K. Bryson
Alexander Robertson, IV
Kenneth Canfield
Robert R. Ahdoot
c/o Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP
900 W. Morgan St.
Raleigh, NC 27603
Stephen B. Devereaux
King & Spalding LLP
1180 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

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16. What is the difference between objecting and excluding?

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement. You can object to the settlement only if you do not exclude yourself from the settlement. Excluding yourself from the settlement is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the settlement. If you exclude yourself from the settlement, you have no basis to object to the settlement because it no longer affects you.

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17. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

Yes. The Court has appointed the following lawyers, called “Class Counsel,” to represent all Class Members: Alexander Robertson IV of Robertson & Associates, LLP; Daniel K. Bryson of Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP; Kenneth S. Canfield of Doffermyre Shields Canfield & Knowles, LLC; and Robert R. Ahdoot of Ahdoot & Wolfson, PC. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

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18. How will the lawyers be paid?

Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of expenses not to exceed $4,666,666.67. The Court will determine the amount of fees and expenses to award. Class Counsel will also request that $3,000 be paid to the Class Representatives who helped the lawyers on behalf of the whole Class. The fees and expenses and incentive payments awarded by the Court will be paid by Defendant out of the $14 million referenced above (see Question 7).

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19. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on January 10, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, before the Honorable Eleanor L. Ross, U.S. District Judge, 1788 Richard B. Russell Federal Building and United States Courthouse, 75 Ted Turner Drive SW, Atlanta, GA 30303.

The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updates. At the Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider how much to pay Class Counsel and the Class Representatives. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at this time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

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20. Do I have to come to the hearing?

No. Class Counsel will answer any questions that the Court may have. But, you may come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time to the proper addresses, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.

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21. May I speak at the hearing?

Yes. You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intent to Appear.” In your letter, you must include the following:

  • Your name, address, telephone number, and, if available, email address;
  • The name, address, email address, and telephone number of any lawyer(s) who will be appearing on your behalf at the Fairness Hearing;
  • The name, address, email address, and telephone number of any lawyer(s) who will be appearing on your behalf at the Fairness Hearing;
  • The name of the case (Smith et al. v. Floor & Decor Outlets of America, Inc., Case No. 1:15-cv-04316-ELR);
  • Your signature and, if you have one, your lawyer’s signature.

You will also need to provide other information as required in the Court’s order of September 8, 2016 preliminarily approving the settlement. The order is available on the Court Documents page on this website.

You must mail your Notice of Intent to Appear, postmarked no later than December 12, 2016, to all of the addresses in Question 15.

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22. What happens if I do nothing at all?

If you do nothing, you will not get any benefits from the settlement. Unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant about the legal issues in this case, ever again.

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23. How do I get more information?

This website summarizes the proposed settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a complete copy of the Settlement Agreement and other information on the Court Documents page on this website. If you have additional questions or want to request a Claim Form, you can call the Claims Administrator at 1(888) 339-3891; or write to the Claims Administrator: Smith v. FD, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 10309, Dublin, OH 43017-5909.

Updates will be posted as information about the settlement process becomes available.

PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT OR THE CLERK’S OFFICE CONCERNING THIS CASE.

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