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Thread: Is there a class action lawsuit against Kitec piping?

  1. #91
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    Arrow Las Vegas Review Journal article

    Homeowners sue installers, who blame manufacturer for faulty fixtures

    Feb. 09, 2007
    Copyright Las Vegas Review-Journal

    Lawsuits flow over plumbing

    Homeowners sue installers, who blame manufacturer for faulty fixtures

    By HUBBLE SMITH
    REVIEW-JOURNAL

    A-Bear plumbers Carlos Jerez, left, and Oscar Sanzores help replace Kitec pipes and fittings in this Henderson house on Forest City Drive.
    Photos by Gary Thompson.

    About 35,000 to 50,000 homes in the Las Vegas Valley have Kitec brass fixtures. A class action lawsuit claims the fixtures are faulty.

    A construction defect lawsuit that started last year with about 1,000 homes in Sun City MacDonald Ranch has been expanded to include potentially 35,000 to 50,000 homes throughout the Las Vegas Valley, an attorney for some of the homeowners said.

    Randall Jones of Harrison Kemp Jones law firm said the class action lawsuit includes all owners of homes in Clark County with Kitec brass plumbing fittings. Defendants named in the lawsuit are Kitec maker IPEX, Classic Plumbing, Sharp Plumbing and Cox & Sons Plumbing.

    Extensive corrosion and crystallization caused by chemical reaction occurs where Kitec is coupled with polyurethene-based tubing, resulting in plumbing problems such as leaks, reduced water flow and breaks, the lawsuit alleges.

    "We have metallurgists who opined that, based on testing of these brass fittings, they will all fail," Jones said. Major home builders that used Kitec include KB Home, Pulte, Richmond American, Signature, Woodside and John Lang, he said.

    Steve Hawley, owner of Classic Plumbing, said the Kitec problem cost him his business and he's pursuing legal action against IPEX, the Canadian-based manufacturer of Kitec.

    "I'm basically out of business," he said. "I have no employees. I'm the only employee now just to handle the lawsuit. Here I had one of the largest residential plumbing companies in the valley for 25 years and had to shut it down."

    Hawley said he put Kitec fittings in about 5,000 homes in the valley, many of them for Richmond American. When the fittings started having problems, he called Kitec and company officials said it was "no big deal." They paid for product and labor to repair a few homes and then "pulled up stakes" in Colorado and moved to Canada, he said.

    "I was out of pocket $300,000 taking care of these people, so I couldn't come out and take care of the poor homeowners," Hawley said. "I told them it's not a workmanship problem, it's the product. So I sued Kitec."

    Cox & Sons Plumbing declined comment. Sharp Plumbing failed to return phone calls.

    Developer Del Webb started using Kitec fittings after other plumbing problems surfaced in Sun City Summerlin, attorney Francis Lynch of Lynch Hopper Salzano, representing Sun City MacDonald Ranch homeowners, told the Review-Journal last year.

    He said the MacDonald Ranch case is continuing and a hearing is scheduled in March. Judge Nancy Saitta, who was previously handling the case, was elected to the Nevada Supreme Court. The new judge, Timothy Williams, certified the class action lawsuit.

    Pulte Homes, Del Webb's parent company, recently sent letters to residents of its master-planned Anthem community in Henderson, offering to pay homeowners $7,800 to make necessary repairs, which could require rerouting plumbing overhead through walls and attics.

    Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 40 was changed a few years ago to rein in construction-defect lawsuits, giving builders the right to repair or compensate home owners before they go to litigation.

    "In this instance, we want to compensate homeowners to get repairs done on their homes so they can go on with their lives and enjoy their homes and not be caught up in a lawsuit for five years with no promise of compensation," Pulte spokeswoman Sasha Jackowich said.

    Pulte "hasn't offered a dime" to homeowners in Sun City MacDonald Ranch, Lynch said, even though the same Kitec material was used in those homes and the builder's own experts said the plumbing has to be replaced.

    Favil West, president of Sun City Anthem Homeowners Association, said Kitec fittings may have been installed in as many as 3,000 homes there.

    "The board had, up until last week, declined to become involved in this matter as clearly it is a homeowner-developer issue," West wrote in the Anthem Compendium. "At the request of literally hundreds of our residents, the board directed me to investigate and report. The board further directed that a legal opinion be obtained with respect to the limits of participation of the board without exposing the association to any liability."

    Sun City Anthem resident Tony Bell said most of the people he's talked to are taking the money and forgoing the lawsuit. He was told it would take about 45 days to receive the check.

    "A lot of them are having the work done before they get the money," he said. "I'm taking the $7,800 rather than wait five years in the lawsuit and get a check for $36. You've got to take the money out of your pocket and fix it and you might not get enough money to fix it."

    Bell said he signed a release from future claims against Pulte over the Kitec fittings, though it does not exclude other coverage under Pulte's home warranty. It gives Pulte the right to sue Kitec and recover losses, he said.

    Chuck Davis, another Sun City Anthem resident, said he signed the release with Del Webb and opted out of the class action lawsuit. "I don't do anything for attorneys," he said.

    Davis said the $7,800 repair cost is based on the largest home in the Anthem community and there's a "flock" of residents who think they can make money by having the work done for less.

    West said board members met with the class action lawyers in December and then met with their own attorney. Sun City residents discussed the issue with lawyers from both Pulte and Harrison Kemp Jones at a January board meeting. He said most of the board members have requested an inspection.

    Kristi Lonsinger said she's happy with her plumbing repairs, but complained that the city of Henderson raised its inspection fee from $91 to $285. Normally, city officials would inspect the work once when it's completed, but now they make three or four inspections, she said.

    "They no longer care about the final cosmetic look. The city said they want to make sure our homes are put back together the way they should be," Lonsinger said in an e-mail to neighbors.

  2. #92
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Steve Hawley, owner of Classic Plumbing, said the Kitec problem cost him his business and he's pursuing legal action against IPEX, the Canadian-based manufacturer of Kitec.
    "I'm basically out of business," he said. "I have no employees. I'm the only employee now just to handle the lawsuit. Here I had one of the largest residential plumbing companies in the valley for 25 years and had to shut it down."
    Hawley said he put Kitec fittings in about 5,000 homes in the valley, many of them for Richmond American. When the fittings started having problems, he called Kitec and company officials said it was "no big deal." They paid for product and labor to repair a few homes and then "pulled up stakes" in Colorado and moved to Canada, he said.





    wow,

    a failed brass connection, fancy that.


    "Oh but it's fast and easy, stuff is going to take over the world because Europe been using it for years without failure"




    About 35,000 to 50,000 homes in the Las Vegas Valley have Kitec brass fixtures. A class action lawsuit claims the fixtures are faulty.





    Thanks for the latest documented evidence.
    Last edited by Dunbar Plumbing; 02-10-2007 at 01:54 PM.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  3. #93
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking would that not make you want to hurl

    Have a good business, do over 5,000 homes

    be rolling in good money and service work....

    and have it all taken away from you, or you have to

    go bankrupt --restart your bsiness under another name.
    and go underground just to save your assets.....


    I wonder how it all shakes out with his insurance????

    I would think it would be their problem to deal with....not his.

    No Umbreall Policy???

    wouldent it be their problem to insure this plumber????


    I would like to hear more about this mess....


    sounds like the dip tube fiasco of the mid 90s to me...

  4. #94
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Had he used plastic fittings, he wouldn't have the problem...
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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  5. #95
    Rancher
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    Wait a minute....

    "Extensive corrosion and crystallization caused by chemical reaction occurs where Kitec is coupled with polyurethene-based tubing, resulting in plumbing problems such as leaks, reduced water flow and breaks, the lawsuit alleges."

    Huh? Polyurethene-based tubing... everbody know you can't mix polyethylene and polyurethene products.

    Oh and where in this picture is the polyurethene.



    Rancher

  6. #96
    DIY Junior Member serge's Avatar
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    Default Terrible Pex-sky stories....

    Living in the Pacific NW, I had heard about the supposed PEX issue with the Blueberry development. However, even in the article, they admit that the systems were basically hickedly-piggeldy mix of different pipes connections, water heaters etc.

    In Vancouver BC, thousands of condos there have PEX pipe. I've heard about the leaky condo issue there, but that was due to siding (DryVit) issues and not PEX. Many of those condos have been around for >10-15 years and not one peep about the PEX.

    And I'm not really sure what the issue is in the Las Vegas houses is, but from reading the posts (and especially Gary's posts) it seems to be the fittings and using the PEX-al-PEX for potable water.

    It'll be interesting to see how this all turns out, especially since I have PEX in some areas in my house. Luckily, most of it is accessible....

  7. #97
    DIY Junior Member serge's Avatar
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    Default From the homeowner web site....12-2006

    "Due to the unique quality of water in the area, chemical reactions may occur that cause these brass fittings to clog over time. In recent months, some homeowners in Sun City Anthem have reported decreased water flow in their homes, believed to have resulted from corrosion of Kitec brass fittings. To date, corrosion of Kitec fittings has not been found to have caused leaks or any problems other than reduced water flow in any homes in Sun City Anthem."


    http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:...nk&cd=15&gl=us

  8. #98
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    The other day when Rancher posted the picture, I was going to say that I suspect the water quality may be responsible rather than the fittings. I suspected the water when I first saw the pictures on the class action lawsuit web site. That is because of what I see inside the fittings and tubing. It's just too much 'corrosion' (actually material) to come from the aluminium/brass contact corrosion. Someone should do an analysis on it, possibly it's caused by high velocity and erosion corrosion that caused the leaking fittings.

    Another thing I thought about... I wonder how tight the compression nuts were tightened, in those instances where the fittings leaked/broke, and if they weren't overtightened (to prevent leaks) and if they weren't stressed. I also wonder if that were done if it might cause the aluminum to deform enough to touch the brass and cause corrosion. Since I don't know the construction of the fittings or how they go together, my theory may not be possible.

    And isn't it strange that no leaks are present in the case discussed in the linked web site, just loss of pressure/low flow complaints?
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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  9. #99
    DIY Senior Member Phil H2's Avatar
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    My guess is the fittings are made from poor quality free-machining brass that is rich in zinc, coupled with a thin spot located in a turbulent area. The fitting was thus subject to rapid dezincification and being in contact with the copper water pipe doesn't help.

    The aluminum is not in contact with water, so any contact between the Aluminum and brass wouldn't have an electrolyte to accelerate the corrosion.

  10. #100
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Then it must be a bad batch of fittings, all used in only one location in NV, which sounds highly unlikely to me but it's possible.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  11. #101

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    I am hearing that this whole situation is because of the extremely hard water in that area and other components are failing as well: Taco Pumps, fixtures, etc.. anything with brass in them.

    Also supposedly Zurn was one of the pipe suppliers and they are running into the same lawsuits.

    Has anyone gotten any updated info or more reports of this happening to anywhere outside of this NV area?

    Thanks.

  12. #102

    Default Eeek! Home seller with Kitec

    My home's on the market here in the Vegas Valley, and all indications are that we have Kitec plumbing. Our house was built 4 years ago. Our builder is one of those listed in the class action lawsuit cited in this thread. I've seen comments from those who believe this leakage/blockage problem may be due to the extremely hard water here in Southern Nevada.

    Is there any information on whether this corrosion is mitigated or eliminated by softened water? Any opinions here?

    Our water has been softened from the day we bought the house new from the builder. There are just a couple of lines (cold line to kitchen sink, fridge, and outdoors) where the water isn't softened.

    We found out about this issue earlier this week, and have found this thread very informative. Thanks in advance for any comments.

  13. #103

    Default KITEC Class Action

    YES!
    There is a very large class action lawsuit occurring in Las Vegas, NV right now. Any repairs to plumbing and any houses built in 2002-2003 are involved in this lawsuit. The pipes that were installed during a repair or during initial construction are faulty. Customers have a choice: pay $$$$ to have the plumbing repaired now before pipes break and cause damage or wait until the courts decide when and how much you will receive to make repairs. Not a good situation!

  14. #104

    Default Law suit against Kitec

    Okay, here is the straight dope. I am a plumbing contractor in the Southern California area and have been in the Plumbing industry of over 40 - years. The name of my company is MasterServ and my website is www.repipenow.com. We specialize in copper repiping in Southern California. Over the last several years there has been a problem with Kitec piping in the Las Vegas area. What has occured is that the water conditions in the area react adversly with the type of brass fittings that were used in the construction of appoximately 50,000 - homes in the area. What has been found out is that if the brass has too high of a percentage of zinc in it, it starts to decompose and wear out; causing leaks. The problem that most homeowners are experiencing is that the plumbing contractors in the area are not familar with the repiping industry and are just now coming up to speed as to how to handle this problem. I have seen some of the postings in this forum and most people are just not familar with this type of industry as it is a specialty that started in Southern California and does not ocurr much in other parts of the country. The only solution is to replace the Kitec with PEX or Copper, there is no other solution as the Kitec will just continue to fail. If anyone wants more information, please contract me personally at my office at (800) 806-7374 or (818) 408-4100.

    Sincerely,
    George Anderson
    President
    MasterServ, Inc.

  15. #105
    Rancher
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    What's the difference between Kitec and PEX?

    Rancher

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