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High school field contains product at center of lawsuit

High school field contains product at center of lawsuit

reporter photo

DURHAM — Several artificial turf athletic fields statewide, including at Coginchaug Regional High School, contain a product at the center of a lawsuit over its alleged defectiveness.

FieldTurf, the manufacturer from which CRHS purchased an outdoor artificial turf field in 2010, currently faces a federal lawsuit that claims the company sold an artificial turf product, called Duraspine, to schools and towns across the country from 2005 to 2010 despite knowing the product was defective.

A spokesman for the manufacturer has denied the claims in the lawsuit, adding that state and federal investigations found no wrongdoing on the part of the company.

FieldTurf discontinued Duraspine in 2010.

Regional School District 13 Superintendent Kathryn Veronesi said in a statement that she was not aware of the lawsuit, and that she has not been contacted by FieldTurf.

The turf is slated to be replaced in the 2022-23 school year, she added.

The lawsuit against FieldTurf was filed in October 2017 in the District of New Jersey and seeks class-action status.

Duraspine turf disintegrates prematurely, the complaint states, and “by design and composition, did not have the qualities, properties, and lifespan FieldTurf continuously represented in its sales and marketing materials and pitches.”

Veronesi said that the green grass fibers on the CRHS field “have been deteriorating due to the sun, which we understand to be expected.”

Darren Gill, FieldTurf senior vice president of marketing, said in April that FieldTurf discontinued the sale of Duraspine in 2010 “and transitioned fully to its own self-produced fibers in 2011.”

“The Duraspine issue has not impacted safety, only how a field looks as it wears,” he added. “We are committed to honoring our warranties and working with our customers to address any issues if they arise.”

FieldTurf sued synthetic grass supplier Tencate Thiolon Middle East, formerly Mattex Leisure Industries, in March 2011. The complaint alleges Mattex used a “bait-and-switch scheme” to secure a contract with FieldTurf.

“Mattex changed its fiber formula and the manufacturing process that it used to create the fiber,” the complaint stated. “Upon information and belief, Mattex stopped supplying the monofilament fiber that it had provided to FieldTurf to secure its business and, for some period of time, supplied a less expensive, less durable fiber.”

Besides CRHS, Duraspine fields were installed at several schools statewide, including Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Central Connecticut State University, Yale University, the University of Connecticut and the University of Bridgeport.
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