The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), responsible for air quality regulation in the Los Angeles area and surrounding counties, has sued Home Depot claiming that they mislead customers with false information about VOCs. SCAQMD has been on a roll recently with new air quality legislation, an air quality permits push and lawsuits like this one.
SCAQMD has actually brought two separate lawsuits against Home Depot. The first alleges that Home Depot violated Rule 113 which prohibits the use/distribution/sale of non-compliant coatings. Penalties can be set as high as $10,000 per infraction so Home Depot could stand to lose a decent chunk of change if convicted as well as suffer from negative PR. The second lawsuit alleges that since Home Depot was misleading customers as to the VOC content of their paints/coatings, it gave them an unfair competitive advantage against other paint and coating suppliers. Home Depot may owe up to $2,500 penalty for each anti-competitive infraction and up to $2,500 for each piece of misleading advertising.
The lawsuits allege that SCAQMD found products exceeding the VOC limits and misleading advertising in over two dozen Home Depot stores in the handful of California counties they currently regulate. SCAQMD has also stated the stores were warned about these issues and the lawsuits were brought only after SCAQMD saw the paint/coatings in question marked down for quick sale at the Home Depot’s in question (instead of being removed from the shelves).
Traditionally this area of the country has led the way in VOC regulation and legislation. As the case progresses we’ll add updates here. Check back in a bit for case updates and, as always, happy coating!