Partial deal in defect case: $90 million


A construction-defect lawsuit involving 34,000 Clark County homeowners could be nearing a partial settlement.

Clark County District Court Judge Timothy Williams will hold a preliminary hearing on Thursday to consider a $90 million settlement that plumbing-fitting maker IPEX has offered to plaintiffs who say the company's Kitec pipe connections failed and damaged their homes.

If Williams preliminarily approves the agreement at Thursday's hearing, homeowners would then consider whether to accept the deal.

Sergio Salzano, a partner in the local law firm of Lynch Hopper & Salzano and an attorney representing the homeowners, said the class representatives -- the handful of plaintiffs designated to speak for the 34,000 homeowners in the lawsuit -- have come out in favor of the settlement.

"It's a substantial amount of money given the current economic situation the country finds itself in," said Salzano, whose firm is co-counsel on the case along with the local law firm of Harrison, Kemp, Jones & Coulthard. "It might make sense to get this wrapped up."

Salzano also said there was no guarantee the court would sign off on the settlement.

"It's not a done deal," he said.

IPEX's local attorney, James Carraway, didn't respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Plaintiffs allege that Kitec's brass plumbing fittings caused a chemical reaction with polyurethane pipes, and the reaction resulted in leaks, reduced water flow and pipe breaks.

The Kitec case will continue even if the court and the homeowners sign off on Ipex's offer. Plaintiffs' attorneys are still seeking damages from more than two dozen builders and several plumbing companies that installed Kitec fittings in area homes.

Builders that used the fittings include Pulte Homes, Del Webb Communities, Signature Homes, KB Home, Richmond American Homes and Woodside Homes. Plumbing companies named as defendants in the case include Sharp Plumbing, Classic Plumbing and Cox & Sons.

Richmond American has reached a settlement of more than $10 million on 1,200 homes.

Salzano said he and other plaintiffs' attorneys would continue to negotiate with other builders and plumbers named in the lawsuit, and the IPEX settlement, should it happen, could help move things along.

"It won't get in the way of reaching an agreement with the plumbers and builders, because any step toward a resolution of this case is a good thing," Salzano said.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512.

 

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