A recent lawsuit filed against a dozen manufacturers, suppliers and distributors alleges that faulty fire sprinkler systems were installed in tens of thousands of buildings around the country. The sprinkler systems, known as hybrids, make use of both metal and CPVC pipes. The metal pipes and common construction materials used during installation react with CPVC, causing leaks and creating the potential for catastrophic failure.
How could this happen?
The flaw was uncovered during discovery in a related case. The chief chemist at Lubrizol, a manufacturer of specialty chemicals, determined that the CPVC resin would fail under the conditions required for installation. According to the Daily Business Review, after the chief chemists’ discovery, “…others at the company balked at disclosure.”
The class action suit, filed by two Miami condominium associations, is expected to result in damages in excess of $1 billion against the makers and distributors of the defective system. It alleges that the defendants participated in a “national cover-up over a significant life safety issue” that affects at least 10,000 multi-unit buildings around the country.
A spokesperson for the plaintiffs said of the chemical analysis, “The question is not whether the CPVC pipe used in combination with the metal pipes will fail; the question is when it will fail. This can happen at the very worst time- during a fire when the sprinkler system must operate.”
Repairing the faulty systems is expected to cost anywhere from $50 million to $100 million per building. This staggering estimate includes the cost of moving residents from their homes, demolition, repair, and replacement of demolished or damaged walls and ceilings.
Corporate culture needs to change
This case is yet another example of a greedy corporate mentality with no regard for human life. A catastrophic failure of the fire safety system in a multi-unit building would be devastating to residents and their families. The companies involved didn’t see people who could die in a fire; they saw dollars and cents. The culture of corporate greed and disregard for public safety needs to be rooted out swiftly and efficiently, and billion dollar verdicts might be the only way to accomplish that.
While big companies and big verdicts make for great headlines, millions around the country are victims of negligent manufacturing and defective products every day. If you are one of those victims, we want to fight for your rights. The experienced Nashville, Gallatin and Knoxville-based defective product attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can fight for you and help get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.