Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP (CSK&D) is currently investigating a potential lawsuit against one of the major manufacturers of synthetic grass turf fields, FieldTurf. FieldTurf manufactures and installs artificial fields for soccer, football and other activities. It frequently sells the fields to school districts and municipal bodies, often at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars. While these fields were sold with an eight year warranty, FieldTurf claimed in its marketing materials that they could be amortized for a “10+ year basis,” were “made from the highest quality materials” and were “proven to be the most durable system in the world.”
In 2011, FieldTurf filed a lawsuit against one of its suppliers, TenCate, which supplied the monofilament fabric which FieldTurf marketed under the name “FieldTurf Duraspine.” In its lawsuit, FieldTurf alleged that TenCate changed the formula and process by which it made the FieldTurf Duraspine fiber, which rendered it “less durable” thus “increasing the likelihood of premature fiber degradation under certain conditions,” and exacerbating its “premature disintegration during the warranty period.” FieldTurf also averred that it received a significant number of complaints from its customers related to problems with the FieldTurf Duraspine fiber. FieldTurf and TenCate reached a confidential settlement in 2014.
During the time period that FieldTurf was suing one of its primary suppliers for allegedly providing it with a defective component integral to the integrity of its artificial turf, FieldTurf reportedly continued to sell these products to its customers without disclosing the existence of the defective fiber. It has recently been alleged that – consistent with allegations FieldTurf made in its lawsuit against TenCate – entities that bought FieldTurf Duraspine have been experiencing a variety of problems with the artificial turf. These symptoms have reportedly included splitting, breaking, fiber degradation, clumping and pile layover. A recent survey of 50 FieldTurf fields conducted by NJ Advance Media revealed that there were signs of deterioration “in nearly every case.” It has also been reported that FieldTurf has failed to satisfactorily resolve warranty claims.