Las Vegas Sun

July 28, 2014

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Four homebuilders settle in plumbing lawsuit

Four homebuilders have reached tentative settlements in a plumbing defect class action lawsuit.

Attorneys for William Lyon Homes and RL Homes confirmed Wednesday at a hearing on the status of the lawsuit that they have agreed to settle their claims regarding the faulty Kitec plumbing systems. Attorney Randall Jones, who represents homeowners in the lawsuit, told District Court Judge Timothy Williams that negotiations resulted in verbal agreements with four builders. He did not name the other two homebuilders who settled.

A preliminary settlement hearing scheduled for Friday was postponed to an unspecified date.

Attorneys representing thousands of valley homeowners are seeking to have the homebuilders, plumbers and Kitec manufacturer IPEX pay to repipe every home with the faulty plumbing system.

Negotiations with several plumbing companies were unsuccessful, Jones said.

“We were unable to get anywhere. We are essentially where we were last summer,” Jones said.

An estimated 30,000 homes in the valley were built with Kitec brand plumbing systems, which use a yellow brass fitting that corrodes the zinc in the brass alloy. The corrosion, called dezincification, causes pipes to become blocked and possibly burst.

The 5-year-old lawsuit seeks a complete replumb of homes with the Kitec fittings that were installed since 1995. Kitec maker IPEX settled for $90 million in February. Builders Del Webb and Richmond American Homes also have reached settlements, but the suit seeks damages from dozens of remaining builders and plumbers.

The list of defendants grew today as Vipor Homes, Mona Homes, Sante Fe Builders, Platis Construction and Rhodes Design and Development were found to have used Kitec fixtures in some of their projects.

The suit is scheduled to go to trial on May 18.

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