Between 1978 and 1995, a material called polybutylene was used for pressurized water pipes in the United States. This type of piping is prone to fracturing when exposed to chlorine or other disinfectants that are found in public water supplies. The polybutylene plumbing used in many homes led to catastrophic plumbing failures and a widespread problem with leaks. However, the company did settle with homeowners, agreeing to fund a polybutylene plumbing class action lawsuit.
The polybutylene plumbing industry saw an enormous potential for litigation.
In 1996, in a case called Cox v. Shell Oil Co., the two attorneys partnered up to represent homeowners who had faulty systems. The companies ultimately settled for $950 million, giving affected homeowners free replacement pipes. The plaintiffs’ attorney argued that this was an excellent deal for the average homeowner and that a large enough number of people would file suits against the companies.
The lawsuit also names Celanese and Shell, which manufacture acetal resin for the fittings. They are responsible for misrepresenting the ease of installation of PB systems, and they lobbied consumers across the country to convince them to use them. This lawsuit is currently being filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The plaintiffs’ lawyers are confident in their case.
Moriarty saw a huge potential in the polybutylene plumbing class action.
In 1983, he formed a partnership with Houston lawyer George Fleming. The two men met at a social event and struck a partnership. Their ideology in complex litigation was similar: they believed that technology would give them an advantage over opponents and that the defendants’ products would re-plumber the country.
The lawsuit claims that the polybutylene plumbing system in the United States causes serious health issues. The problem began with municipal water treatment. EPA capped chlorine levels in drinking water at 0.4 parts per million. Other areas have lower levels, and this may explain why some of the affected homes did not suffer from the problem. In addition to the risks associated with PB piping, the lawsuit seeks to provide compensation to homeowners who were affected by the problem.
The class-action lawsuits were filed in 1988 and 1989.
Since then, many homeowners have filed their claims in these lawsuits, which are likely to provide financial assistance for those whose home was built with polybutylene piping. The deadline to file a claim was May 1, 2009, and it is important to remember that the plaintiffs must have suffered from their leaks before the lawsuit. This means that the plaintiffs need to be very vigilant.
As the plaintiffs and defendants in the polybutylene plumbing class action lawsuits, the two companies are responsible for the costs of repairing or replacing damaged pipes. In addition to a massive settlement, the lawsuits have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and expenses. Hence, it is imperative to file a suit as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may be forced to pay higher insurance premiums and the insurers will deny you the coverage you need.
Several lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of polybutylene pipes.
In 1995, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Shell Oil, the manufacturer of the polybutylene pipes. While the company agreed to a settlement of $1 billion, many of its clients still live with these pipes in their homes. Despite the risk of polybutylene plumbing, the leaking pipes are largely not a significant problem, but they have been associated with severe health consequences.
The first lawsuits, filed in the early 1980s, targeted builders and cities, but the most significant class-action lawsuits were filed in the late 1990s. The largest companies, such as DuPont and Shell, settled with the courts for over a billion dollars. In the meantime, the company will be reimbursed for the expenses it incurred repiping the affected homes. This lawsuit will make it easier for the plaintiffs to recover money for their damages.