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A Brief History on Poly B Lawsuits and Litigation

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Poly B Lawsuits and Litigation
Urban Piping Plumber Character

The Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Poly B Lawsuits

A Brief History of Poly B Pipes

In the 1980s, polybutylene pipes emerged as a promising alternative to traditional copper pipes. Touted for their cost-effectiveness and durability, these pipes became a staple in the rapidly growing housing industry. However, the promise soon turned into a plethora of legal battles, marking the rise of Poly B litigation and class action resolution.

The Promise of Polybutylene Plumbing

Advantages Initially Touted

Polybutylene plumbing systems were projected to be far more cost-effective and long-lasting than their copper counterparts. Homeowners and builders alike were quick to adopt this copper pipe alternative, expecting a revolution in the plumbing industry.

Companies Behind the Production

Major corporations like Shell Oil Company and Hoechst Celanese Corporation were at the forefront of polybutylene resin production. US Brass Corporation also played a significant role, designing and marketing plumbing systems under the brand name “Qest.”

The Downfall: Why Poly B Systems Failed

Common Issues with Poly B Plumbing

Despite the initial hype, polybutylene plumbing systems began to show signs of faulty manufacturing and material degradation. Homeowners nationwide reported issues, often attributed to chemicals in the water supply.

Consumer Complaints and Initial Lawsuits

The first wave of leaky plumbing complaints led to isolated lawsuits, primarily in Texas and California. These homeowner litigations set the stage for more organized legal action.

The Legal Landscape: Key Lawsuits and Settlements

Early Significant Litigation by Homeowners

Attorney James Moriarty was among the first to file significant Poly B lawsuits against companies like US Brass, Hoechst, Shell, and General Homes Corporation. His efforts laid the groundwork for future class action lawsuits.

Class Action Litigation and Its Impact

Michael Caddell, the lead counsel for a landmark PB class action case, achieved a settlement that led to the re-plumbing of over 320,000 homes at no cost to the homeowner. This case demonstrated the power of homeowner relief through legal action.

Financial Implications

Costs Incurred by Companies and Homeowners

The legal battles drained companies financially, leading some to bankruptcy and insurance exhaustion. Homeowners, too, found themselves burdened with legal costs, often leaving little for actual re-plumbing.

Settlement Amounts and Distribution

Over $1.14 billion was spent by the defendants, with about 92% going towards homeowner relief. The remaining 8% covered administrative costs and attorney fees, showcasing a skewed distribution of funds.

Lessons Learned and Current Alternatives

Changes in Poly B Resin Production

Companies like Shell have since modified their polybutylene resin for sale in the international market. Acetal products like Celcon and Delrin are still widely used in various industries.

Current Alternatives to Poly B

Today, PEX piping and metal pipes offer more reliable alternatives to Poly B systems. These options are easier to maintain and less prone to the issues that plagued polybutylene plumbing.

Conclusion

Summary and Implications

The Poly B saga serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the need for consumer awareness and due diligence. It has led to significant changes in the plumbing industry and set legal precedents for similar cases.

Call to Action

If you’re a homeowner with Poly B plumbing, it’s crucial to consult with legal experts and consider pipe replacement as a preventive measure.

Additional Resources

This post is part of our commitment to transparent, helpful, and informative content for our readers and visitors. For more details on our editorial process and how we ensure accuracy and reliability, please visit our Editorial Process page.

Authors

Picture of Corey Hayes

Corey Hayes

Corey Hayes is a seasoned marketing professional with two decades of experience in small business marketing, dedicating 15 years of his illustrious career to elevating Urban Piping's brand. His expertise and visionary approach have been pivotal in shaping the company's market presence and success.

Picture of Corey Hayes

Corey Hayes

Corey Hayes is a seasoned marketing professional with two decades of experience in small business marketing, dedicating 15 years of his illustrious career to elevating Urban Piping's brand. His expertise and visionary approach have been pivotal in shaping the company's market presence and success.

Graham Drew

Graham Drew is the pioneering CEO of Urban Piping, a leader in Poly B pipe replacement with over 15 years of specialized home repiping experience. Renowned for completing more Poly B remediations than any other contractor, Graham has set industry standards, ensuring homeowners receive the utmost in safety and quality. His visionary approach and unwavering commitment have solidified Urban Piping’s reputation as the go-to expert for dependable and innovative piping solutions.

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