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What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

Seems the lawyers are gearing up even though no damages have been reported to date?



Specifically, plaintiffs allege that the resin used to create CPVC pipe is defective in that it breaks down when exposed to other materials generally found in a construction project such as anti- corrosives, pesticides, adhesives, lubricants and fire retardants. And when CPVC pipe is used in conjunction with certain metal pipe, it is alleged a reaction is created which breaks down the CPVC pipe’s resin resulting in pipe and fire sprinkler system failure. Defendants’ response has been that such defects do not exist in CPVC pipes or in the resin used to create the pipes, and there has been no actual damage to any fire sprinkler system or buildings named in the lawsuits.

While what’s done is done as to completed projects, contractors and installers now have to weigh the potential for claims on future work given the allegations of these lawsuits. The plaintiffs have advised the court that they wish to add “developers, general contractors and fire sprinkler system installers” to the pending class action suit.

There has to be more to it than just the possibility? I think my first CPVC project was in the early 1990's In 25 to 30 years no damages to date yet lawyers are gearing up?

RE: What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

It almost reads like an advertisement for the law firm. "You're probably gonna get sued, so put us on retainer asap!".

RE: What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

I agree but it was hard mailed to me out of Florida.

I've heard a few incompatibility issues but who really knows the truth when you are dealing with lawyers?

RE: What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

True enough. When you consider the millions of linear feet of the stuff currently installed throughout the world (the vast majority concealed behind finished walls/ceilings), even an issue effecting 0.0001% of it could make a lawyer rich. Doesn't matter if they represent the plaintiff or defendant, the scale (and therefore the money) would be incredible.

RE: What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

It probably helps to inject a good dose of cynicism into the mix as well. Sort of like when the steel sprinkler pipe manufacturers ran the 'anti-cpvc' attack ads in all the sprinkler magazines, it always helps to ask 'is this truly for the good of the industry, or is it going to make a corporation piles of money if they can convince you a competing product is bad.'

RE: What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

Yes. I too wonder if this is somehow backed by the steel industry. CPVC is a good alternative to steel piping in the correct applications. Obviously in the wrong applications, it is horrible. But that is true with anything.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
"Follow" us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/MFP-Design-LLC/9221...

RE: What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

As to <<<...even though no damages have been reported to date>>>, actually I had heard in reports some time ago (e.g. in the media clip at http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/local-news/i-tea...) that there were millions of dollars in damages to two condominiums in South Florida alone as a result of leaks from the plastic pipes . Other media reports have claimed "hundreds of thousands of dollars" as a result of such. In any case, such damage/dollar amounts or potential for same are perhaps reason why the National Underwriter Property & Casualty folks (in the website mentioned from the link in the thread a couple years ago stookeyfpe provided) talked about subrogation recovery potential etc.
As to lawsuits I noticed now the website at http://cpvcfiresprinklerpipereport.com/new-suits-w...
is reporting the plaintiffs apparently of the "billion dollar"one, when the federal court told them they could not add even more defendants, have apparently abandoned an original federal class action and moved instead into state courts, ostensibly so they could now add more defendants ( with the "underlying" arguments remaining basically the same?) Another update on this same portal mentions that many more large condominiums (Plaintiffs) have become involved, with as many as ten court cases or more apparently wending their way through the courts in South Florida alone? All have a good weekend.

RE: What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

I think this merely illustrates the balance of power or control amongst all parties actually involved. Even though I'm "an electrician" professionally, currently, I'm an involved party, though an ignored one. The increasing use of PVCs and other "plastic" materials in place of metallic ones in many applications, is still always questionable, and seen most often as a compromise in quality where replacing metallic components. This is even true where corrosion is an obvious factor. Blame this if you will upon abuse and poor practices of the past when similar materials were first being developed and over marketed. The average person, when introduced to a fire suppression system constructed of "plastic" parts and materials responds in shock, disbelief, and doubt. These are affected parties. You, and at times even I, can have solid, informative, technical discussions on desirable characteristics and facets of newer alternative materials and processes, and even come to our own conditional acceptance of such new materials and methods for construction of systems or components present in structures, appliances, equipment, or consumer products. Those very consumers however cannot be excluded from our choices and decisions. Do we really know better than them, or more than them? Until we're certain that we don't, we stand in a precarious, and often indefensible position. We ourselves are very conservative in many respects, and can only expect such of all the affected parties.

An interesting piece addressing some of the real intended substance of this thread:


Me wrong? I'm just fine-tuning my sarcasm!

RE: What is going on here? Fire Sprinkler Lawsuits concerning CPVC pipe

I realize that this thread is from 11/16, but as a contractor with more than 38 years experience I wanted to chime in. I have attended multiple presentations from various CPVC producers and vendors. I would say that all of them are aware of these issues and are interested in working through it, of course they have a vested interest in the use of the product but as a contractor I can assure you that the CPVC product lowers the installation cost in certain applications / occupancies. The result is MORE fire sprinkler systems installed in residential occupancies. It is almost impossible to install a steel (i.e. fixed wall) pipe product into a residential facility. I am hopeful that all work for the benefit of the public to be protected by fire sprinklers. We all know more about the limits of the product and the specific installation requirements now than when we first used CPVC. Also, it is a much better pipe product when it comes to hydraulic calculations.

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