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Councilmember Marc Elrich pleased that his persistent questioning helped protect public funds

For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 25, 2018

Councilmember Marc Elrich pleased that his persistent questioning helped protect public funds
In December 2017, The Montgomery County Department of Parks joined a class action lawsuit against FieldTurf due to defective manufacturing and failure of the synthetic field at Blair Local Park


ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 25, 2018— The following is Councilmember Marc Elrich’s statement on the Montgomery County Department of Parks joining the class action lawsuit against FieldTurf:

I was very pleased when Montgomery Parks informed me that they are joining the class action lawsuit against FieldTurf because of defective manufacturing.  For years, I have been raising concerns about the safety of synthetic turf - because of its contents, its heat and its hardness.

Last March, after I learned of the failure of the synthetic turf field at Blair Local Park and the plans to replace it, I wrote a letter to the Director of Montgomery Parks, Mike Riley.  My letter presented a variety of questions, including whether the field was still under warranty, and if it was, whether the manufacturer would pay for the replacement, which cost $725,000.  Director Riley responded that the Commission’s Office of General Counsel was reviewing the options.  Periodically throughout the year 2017, my staff and I continued to inquire as to whether a decision had been reached about who would ultimately pay for the replacement field.  At the end of December 2017 my office received an email from Director Riley, reporting that Montgomery Parks had joined the class action lawsuit against FieldTurf. I am hopeful that a successful outcome of this lawsuit will allow Montgomery Parks to recoup the $725,000 it spent to replace the new field, which was installed last year.

Funding for our parks are desperately needed to support green space and recreation all around our county. County funds should not be used to replace a defective product - that is the responsibility of the manufacturer.  That is why I am glad that Montgomery Parks has joined the lawsuit.

Below is the communication my office received from the Director Riley explaining Montgomery Parks' decision. I want to commend Director Riley for his willingness to address safety and financial issues. These problems are difficult, and he has been willing to take the necessary steps.

From Parks Director Riley:
“After careful consideration of the condition and damage to various turf fields purchased from FieldTurf, including the field located at Montgomery Blair High School, and legal options, the Commission will seek relief as a member of the class in the matter pending before the United States District Court – District of New Jersey, In Re: FieldTurf Artificial Turf Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, Case No.: 17-md-02779 MAS.  In this case, it is alleged that FieldTurf misrepresented the reliability, performance, and cost-effectiveness of its turf fields in violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act; knowingly provided turf fields which contained defects in materials that were never disclosed; and, otherwise asserted that the fields provided were in merchantable condition and fit for their intended purpose, in breach of its express and implied warranties.”

I also want to thank the Safe Healthy Playing Fields Coalition and members of the Montgomery County Civic Federation for helping me raise these issues.

Marc Elrich is an At-Large member of the Montgomery County Council. He serves as Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee and is a member of the Education Committee.

For questions or further information, contact Dale Tibbitts or  Debbie Spielberg in the Office of Councilmember Marc Elrich at 240-777-7966 or Councilmember.Elrich@montgomerycountymd.gov .


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Release ID: 18-024
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 2407777926