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Nope – not a shot from Abandoned America. These are the only 2x4s I had handy (they’ll soon be used to finish framing my shower).

In my November 2017 editor’s note, I wrote about two $5,000,000 lawsuits filed against Menard’s and Home Depot for “false and misleading advertising” for selling 2×4 lumber that isn’t actually 2″ x 4″. You can read that here, if you like.

Last night, Nicholas Vanaria (a friend from Instagram) let me know that the suit against Menard’s was dismissed. U.S. District Judge Edmond Change threw out the case on October 6. Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on it here.

But I will steal one quote from the author, Rick Romell, because it made me chuckle: “Beyond that, the judge said, Fuchs and Krasilnikov — who alleged they discovered they had been deceived when they got home and measured their lumber — easily could have used their tape measures in the store.”

The case against Home Depot (filed by the same Chicago-based firm, McGuire Law) is still pending.

— Megan Fitzpatrick


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Showing 25 comments
  • Tool Editor

    Don’t try to sell stuff in the blog comments–very unprofessional spamming JWills99

  • Dan Poplar

    It does not bother me at all that construction materials are nominal sized. Much more efficient. Most walls in most homes do not even need half of the studs that they have. It did bother me though that you could not buy true 1″ oak boards. I only recently found better suppliers who use the quarter system. What made me hopping mad though was when I went to buy a pre made MDF shelf and found it to be nominal in size.

  • gunter1066

    When did we go from true size to nominal, and why are we accepting it? Would you all who are so superior to the plaintiffs accept nominal drill bit sizes? Or nominal tape measures?


    One thing is not knowing about nominal measures, another is not seeing the difference between 3,5″ and 4″ or measuring it, but the icing of the cake is the USD 5,000,000 :-D!!! That made me crack up.

  • IrritableBadger

    I grew up about a block away from a hardware store. I had spent months (days) designing an impregnable tree fort based on 2×4 framing. The lumber was about $1/ea, my entire life savings at that point, and I carried 30 of them, two at time, home. As I laid it out I realized something was wrong. Terribly wrong.

    My dad thought it was hilarious. He explained it all to me and that’s how I learned about nominal sizing. He paid for the additional lumber.

    Some time later I put my newfound expertise to work and I called the hardware store to confirm actual dimensions of plywood. I designed the worlds heaviest R/C airplane and it was time to build it! I painstakingly laid everything out directly on the ply and when I was done nothing was the proper size. That’s how I learned what a kerf was.

    I think most everyone who is learning about making things has a few similar stories. It’s part of the learning process. It’s definitely not grounds for a $5,000,000 lawsuit. I sincerely hope that whatever they were trying to build doesn’t have anything alive living in it.

  • bmeyers747

    This ranks up there with one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. I certainly hope the law firm took the case on a contingency basis since they were stupid enough to go forward with it. I bought my first 2 x 4 over 50 years ago. They were the same size then as they are now – 1 1/2 X 3 1/2. Maybe they can file a lawsuit for bait and switch since some lumber is priced per board foot and some in linear feet. I’d try to explain the difference to these two idiots but it would probably make their little heads explode.

  • jrwill

    Since this absurd lawsuit will drive the cost of wood up (this lawsuit is costing home depot and Menards money) – can we sue the lawyers for driving up the cost of our wood?

    If we all file separately – it will drive these bottom feeders out of business. Let them be sued by millions of wood customers that their absurd action has harmed…

  • jkraettli

    Every state has a “frivolous lawsuit statute” whereby the court determines there is no case/suit and fines both the attorney and the plaintiff for burdening the court’s time with a filing that has no substance. Pressure needs to be placed on the individual Bar Association to force the bench to enforce the statute and free up the court time for relevant lawsuits. This will discourage the frivolous lawsuit and make the intent of the law less watered-down for the protection of the public by reducing case law filings. This is not a first-impression case but favoritism on the part of the court to avoid fining attorneys that, more-than-likely, have no business being in the practice of law. If anyone wants true 2×4’s, they are available for a price.

  • smoknmack

    Let me see if I understand what the lawyers are saying. All lumber retailers should advertise a 2×4 as 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 +/- unless of course it would measure differently. Just look at the increased advertising costs and the increased difficulty in pricing due to the changes. Oh, what would a contractor due to his future estimates.

  • Len_Baker

    I enjoyed your commentary Meghan, righteous indignation coupled with tongue in cheek humor is exactly the tone required.
    Since we have allowed the inmates to run the asylum, I’m surprised that the shylocks haven’t stumbled upon a great business opportunity. “Let’s sue the imbeciles”! Can’t figure out a 2×4 isn’t 2 inches by 4 inches? And you complain about it? Publicly? Well cupcake, you just irritated most of the United States and we would like to be compensated … Can’t figure out hot coffee is hot??? Grrr, write us a check.
    That, or apply the 3 strikes and you’re out to frivolous lawsuits…

  • wmjim

    Perhaps they should have sued everyone in the United States that sells lumber. Makes about as much sense.

  • Boccherini

    Not to quibble, but the lumber in question was 4×4, not 2×4. Irrespective of that, you would have to be extremely uninformed to think 2×4 really means 2″ by 4″. Good ruling.

  • bedrock608

    To paraphrase Shakespeare: We have too many damn lawyers who have nothing else to do and nothing to contribute to society!!! Or was it, “kill all the lawyers???” I forget! Lol!!!

    As an aside: Washington University Law School in St. Louis is being sued by lawyer alumni (as they churn them out by the dozens) who cannot find work that meets their million dollar a year salary desires!! A little justice there!! Except they will then go into politics and steal more from us that way! But I digress!

    Glad the judge dismissed the first lawsuit!

  • gunter1066

    The studs in my 85-year-old house are exactly 2″x4″, for instance. At some point, manufacturers started cheating us. I used to buy 3/4″ plywood and could be sure that a 3/4″ router bit would make a groove that would fit the plywood. No longer. We are being cheated on that as well. And the top veneer used to be thicker than tissue paper. I feel like suing, myself.

  • Georgia J

    These folks should be banned from any business related to building, even the ones they have not sued. How do you get a lawyer to take a case that is so baseless? Very sad comment on where we have come. I believe I was taught about dimensioned lumber shortly after learning what numbers were. Took a little longer to understand 4/4 or 8/4 and boardfeet.

  • Ralf

    The Judge ruled that they should have measured before they bought the product, if only my x wife had done that. Ralph

  • ssutton508

    Filing suit rather than learning the facts of why an S4S board doesn’t measure 2 x 4. Only in America

  • Bill Lattanzio

    At least common sense prevailed for once.

  • RiverRat

    At least the Menard’s and Home Depot suits were filed in jurisdictions where they have stores. Lowe’s does not even have any stores in Marin!

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