Las Vegas Sun

December 21, 2014

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Tentative settlement reached in defective plumbing lawsuit

As many as 34,000 Southern Nevada homeowners with Kitec plumbing could be affected

A tentative settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit regarding defective plumbing that affects as many as 34,000 Southern Nevada homeowners.

The agreement, which is scheduled for judicial approval Thursday, would provide $90 million to repair damages caused when Kitec plumbing fixtures rupture.

The settlement resolves a 2-year-old class action suit but does not include personal injury claims or several individual suits brought against Kitec manufacturer IPEX.

Kitec plumbing was used in residential construction in Southern Nevada from 1995 to 2006. Attorneys in the case aren't sure how many homes may have the Kitec fittings, but the lawsuit includes at least 34,000 homeowners.

IPEX, the manufacturer, estimates the actual number is closer to 28,000 homes. Water causes the brass Kitec fittings to corrode and zinc from the brass builds up in the pipes. The buildup restricts water flow and eventually causes the pipe to break.

IPEX issued a recall on all Kitec brass fittings in 2005. The company denies liability and has claimed in the lawsuit that Southern Nevada's hard water is to blame for failures, saying the fixtures don't have the same problem in other parts of the country.

Class action attorneys Harrison, Kemp, Jones & Coulthard reached an earlier deal with builder Richmond American Homes, which agreed to replumb 1,251 homes it built. About $4.5 million is earmarked for those homeowners.

The deal also sets aside $11.6 million for Woodside Homes, which creditors forced into involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sept. 3. Woodside has 17 communities in the valley. About 4,000 Woodside homes have been identified that might have Kitec plumbing.

Members of the suit, including nearly 3,000 additional homes identified in the past few months, will be notified of the settlement by mail.

Jeff Pope can be reached at 990-2688 or [email protected].

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