19 December 2008
High court hearing planned 'to assess sofa damages'
A hearing is set to be held at London's high court in February to assess the level of damages that should be awarded to consumers who claimed of eye, chest and skin problems after purchasing so-called toxic sofas earlier this year.
Some 5,000 people complained of the condition after purchasing the living room furniture, which was made in China and sold by Land of Leather, Argos and Walmsleys.
In total, some 30,000 sofas were sold, the BBC reported. It is thought the sofas contained a chemical known as Dimethyl Fumarate (DMF) which is used to prevent mould on leather.
DMF is also thought to have been potentially linked to some deaths.
According to Russell, Jones and Walker lawyer Richard Langton, the department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform issued an "inadequate" warning about the furniture last year and did not take action to stop imports of the sofas into the UK.
He contrasted the UK's reaction with that of France, which banned imports of the furniture items "within weeks" of the outbreak.
The Telegraph reported earlier this year that children, adults and household pets suffered "a series of violent reactions" after coming into contact with DMF on their sofas.