Artificial turf has been with us for just over half a century, ever since the Houston Astros realized that real grass would not grow under the Astrodome roof which had to be painted when outfielders could not properly field balls based on glinting from the previously-transparent roof. Thus, “AstroTurf” was invented, and the AstroTurf brand dominated the market for years. That is until an upstarts like FieldTurf entered the market. FieldTurf now claims a 85% share of the artificial turf market. FieldTurf’s products, however, have recently come under fire and are now the subject of a nationwide class action brought by a New Jersey municipality arguing that the budget-level turf that FieldTurf had marketed to school districts and municipalities around the country was grossly inferior to what had been promised to its cost-conscious buyers.
The Complaints Against Fieldturf
The heart of the complaint filed in New Jersey federal court by the Borough of Carteret against FieldTurf is that the company had sold its Synthetic Turf Fields to customers with a 10-plus year lifespan, while in actuality the turf broke down within a few years. Commonly, the fields would become uneven and greatly discolored after only a few years of use. The plaintiff argue that the company specifically took advantage of public entities during the “Great Recession” of the late 2000s and early 2010s when “public funding was at an all time low” to induce them to buy the supposedly long-lasting, affordable turf, despite internal reports that the fields were breaking down far sooner than the stated 10-year lifespan.
FieldTurf Raises the Ire of the Media and Officials
A media investigation into problems with the more than 1,500 Synthetic Turf Fields sold by FieldTurf came out in December 2016, which detailed millions of dollars being spent to address the issue of defective fields, but that the company had continued to sell $570 million worth of the fields – many of them to New Jersey public entities – in spite of having known about the problems since 2007.
The problem of FieldTurf’s defective fields and the hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds that has been spent on them has roused the concern of lawmakers across New Jersey, and Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez have urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the company.
When Public Entities Are Targeted by Unscrupulous Vendors
It is never okay for a business to intentionally sell products that deliver far less than what is promised, but when the buyer is a public entity spending taxpayer dollars, those fraudulent actions are all the more egregious.
Fortunately, there are avenues for public entities such as school districts, cities, and counties to fight back against the vendors and suppliers who prey on them. By working with an experienced plaintiff class action firm, public entities can obtain justice and financial recovery on behalf of themselves and others similarly wronged by their business partners.
The class action attorneys at McCune Wright Arevalo are dedicated to obtaining justice for plaintiffs in the Inland Empire and across California and beyond. For more information about bringing a class action, contact the complex litigation attorneys at McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP at (909) 345-8110.