Lawsuit Claims NIBCO PEX Fittings, Clamps Are Defective
June 11, 2014 Last Updated on October 31, 2018
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org no longer need to hear from people with this product. A $43.5 million settlement has been reached. You can find all the information you need on the settlement website, here. Everything we know about the settlement can be found in this blog post.
The class action involving NIBCO has settled. Those affected will be able to claim their piece of the $43.5 million settlement via the settlement website, here. Here's our blog post on everything we know so far.
At A Glance
This Alert Affects:
Anyone whose home, business or other property contains polyethylene plumbing (PEX) made by NIBCO, Inc.
NIBCO, Inc., which bought out Consolidated Plumbing Industries (CPI). CPI Dura-PEX tubing has since been sold under the NIBCO brand.
Which NIBCO Products Are Affected?
Cross-linked polyethylene plumbing tubes (PEX tubing), the brass fittings that connect the tubes (PEX fittings) and the stainless steel clamps than join the two together (PEX clamps).
Type of Lawsuit:
A class action lawsuit has been filed against NIBCO claiming that the manufacturer’s cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) plumbing tubes are defective and fail earlier than expected.
If you own or operate a property that uses this plumbing, attorneys are interested in hearing from you. You may be able to participate in a class action against NIBCO to recover compensation for repair and replacement costs.
Am I Eligible for the Class Action If I Have CPI PEX?
You may still be able to join if you have PEX plumbing tubes manufactured by Consolidated Plumbing Industries (CPI). In 2006, NIBCO acquired CPI, one of the leading manufacturers of PEX tubing. At the time, NIBCO president Rex Martin described CPI as one of the only U.S. firms to electronically crosslink its PEX pipe on a full-time basis. CPI's PEX products are now sold under the NIBCO brand.
What’s the Problem?
According to the lawsuit, PEX tubing, fittings and clamps all suffer from design defects. It has been alleged that these problems are interlinked and can lead to overall failure of the product.
PEX Tubing - Oxidization
The lawsuit alleges that NIBCO PEX tubing is prone to oxidization. Oxidization is the process whereby oxygen affects the quality of a material, such as metal or plastic. This can occur if the material was not treated properly or was defectively designed. Oxidization of PEX tubing can lead to cracks and ruptures. While this alone can cause leaks, it can also allow water to come in contact with other PEX products, according to the suit.
PEX Fittings – Dezincification
When water leaks from the tubing and comes in contact with PEX brass fittings, zinc can “leach” out of the fittings (a process known as dezincification). According to the suit, this process “causes the [brass fittings] to change from a solid brass material to a spongy copper-rich structure, grossly weakening the fitting.” In addition to rendering the fittings ineffective, dezincification also allows water to leak out and come in direct contact with PEX clamps, the suit claims.
PEX Clamps – Stress Corrosion Cracking
Water that escapes through the corroded fittings may also affect the PEX stainless steal clamps. Chlorine-rich water can cause “stress corrosion cracking,” which causes cracks and breaks in the clamps and renders them ineffective, according to the suit.
All three problems can cause significant problems for homeowners. According to the suit filed in December, 2013:
“Despite NIBCO’s attestations to the quality and superiority of its PEX Tubing, consumers all across the United States have experienced water damage and catastrophic PEX tubing failures caused by slow growth cracking mechanisms consistent with oxidative failure and/or creep rupture. These slow growth cracking mechanisms have been caused by the insufficient stabilization and/or improper cross-linking of the PEX material used by NIBCO to manufacture its PEX Tubing.”
What Damage Can It Cause?
Individuals who suffered property damage as a result of allegedly defective PEX products have reported:
Cracking and leaking
Property damage to walls, ceilings, carpets, etc
The need to repair and replace PEX plumbing products.
Water leakage can render the tubing and fittings permanently unusable and can also affect water pressure throughout a property’s plumbing system.
Is it Easy to Fix?
NIBCO PEX products require a professional plumber to install and repair. Even so, some people claim they needed several repairs to fix their PEX tubing. Furthermore, it has been alleged that plumbers are having difficulty identifying the underlying problem. In situations like this, the damage can be extensive, as leaking water can affect walls, ceilings, floors, and any nearby belongings. One NIBCO customer who filed a lawsuit against the company, James Monica, experienced two additional leaks after he first became aware of the problem and contacted a professional plumber for help.
Other customers across the country have taken to the Internet to voice their concerns. Their comments include:
“I had these [NIBCO PEX] pipe installed in my new house in 2007 and just had my second leak last week…”
“I live in Wake Forest, NC and have experienced over a dozen leaks since moving into my home in 2010. I have suffered thousands in property damage and repair bills and continue to make repairs on a biweekly basis. We need serious help in getting this issue resolved!”
“My New Mexico home was built in 2009. On September 22, 2013, failure of a NIBCO PEX F1807 fitting which connected the main water line from my well into the house resulted in extensive flooding through many rooms in my home. “
“Our home was built in 2010 and will be 4 years old this October. We have had 9 leaks in the past 2 years. In order to remedy this issue due to a faulty product, we now have to have all of our pipes replaced throughout our entire house.”
“NIBCO Dura Pex installed in part of our neighborhood in 2009. At a minimum there are six homes on my street with leaks, some with three, most with at least two thus far.”
Can I Take Part in a Class Action Lawsuit?
If you have this plumbing system in your home or business, you may be able to recover compensation as part of a class action lawsuit.