If you’ve ever bought any lumber at a lumber yard or at a big box hardware store like Home Depot or Lowe’s you know that “2×4” and “4×4”, or any other size description of dimensional lumber, does not describe the exact dimensions of the lumber. Dimensional lumber has smooth sides and edges because it has been planed at the mill it came from. If you want a 2×4 or a 4×4 that is exactly 2 inches by 4 inches or 4 inches by 4 inches you buy rough sawn lumber. Dimensional 2x4s are actually 1.5” be 3.5”, 4x4s are 3.5” by 3.5”.
Rough sawn lumber is not common and may not even be in stock at many lumber yards. To get it you may have to special order it.
Almost all lumber sold at lumber yards or big box stores in America is dimensional lumber. That is what people want because everything made of douglas fir is made with lumber of those dimensions. That is what you want if you are building a wall and you need 2×4’s for the studs. If you bought rough sawn lumber and tried to use those for studs you’d end up with a wall that wouldn’t fit with the rest of the house. Nowadays 2×6 studs are common to allow more insulation in the walls to meet new building code standards. A 2×6 is actually 1.5” by 5.5”. For this reason you can buy insulation batts that are of a standard thickness to fit a 5.5” width wall.
Unless you are a Rip Van Winkle whose’s been asleep under a tree, not for just 20 years, but for about 100 years, you already know everything I’ve just said. Even if you don’t you can quickly gain this knowledge by visiting any lumber yard in America.
But a group and greedy and unethical lawyers in Milwaukee are pretending otherwise. They have brought a class action lawsuit against Home Depot and Menards for cheating customers by selling them 4x4s that aren’t a full 4 inches by 4 inches. Neither Home Depot nor Menards is likely to stock 4x4s that are a full 4 inches by 4 inches because there does not exist a viable market for lumber of that dimension. The lawyers are seeking $5 million in damages.
If we had intelligent and mildly sophisticated courts in America these lawyers would be some hot water with the judge in this case and probably with the legal ethics board where they practice. If I were the judge who received the complaint in the case I would issue an immediate order sua sponte to the defendants to not bother filing an answer because I would have already dismissed the complaint and held the lawyers in contempt of court for filing an obvious and outrageously frivolous claim, wasting the court’s time and resources.
You have to wonder if these lawyers know they are making bogus claims and they are simply hoping to settle for 20 cents on the dollar of their claim. That would still be somewhere between $334,000 for the lawyers with checks to each member of the class for about $7.34 each. One would hope that a court wouldn’t allow itself to be used for such shenanigans.
Who ultimately pays if Home Depot and Menards end up having to cough up a million or two to these bastards? Ordinary weekend handy men who buy lumber to build a dog house or to do some home improvement job, that’s who.
These are the sorts of law suits that make me remember why my mother didn’t want me to become a lawyer, because she didn’t consider it an honorable profession.