Las Vegas Sun

November 22, 2017

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Judge releases 322 homeowners from class-action plumbing lawsuit

Sun City MacDonald Ranch duplex owners settled for $11.6 million in 2007


Richard Brian

This IPEX water pipe fitting was taken from a Pulte home in Anthem. The corroded fittings can cause declining water pressure and leaks.

Bad Plumbing

Three of 19 Sun City Anthem homeowners share their concerns after opting out of a class-action suit against Kitec plumbing manufacturer IPEX and numerous plumbers and builders.

A District Court judge has agreed to release 322 owners of duplexes in Sun City MacDonald Ranch from a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit regarding faulty plumbing.

The owners had been part of a separate construction defect lawsuit that settled in 2007 in which developer Del Webb Communities Inc., and its 34 subcontractors, paid more than $11.6 million.

Del Webb’s attorney, Jason Williams, confirmed that some of those duplexes contained Kitec fixtures and had already been repaired.

Water removes zinc from the Kitec brand brass fixtures, which then builds up clogging in the pipes. Water pressure builds up, eventually causing the pipes to break. Kitec’s manufacturer, IPEX, recalled the fixtures in 2005. By then, they had been used in valley homes since about 1995.

Under that settlement, those owners waived their right to future claims. If allowed to be in the larger class action suit, those owners would receive twice the compensation, known as double recovery.

“These are not proper class members because they’ve been compensated, made whole,” Williams said. “They should never have been given notice of the class action in the first place.”

Judge Timothy Williams, no relation to the attorney, agreed pending the filing of the proper motion.

The Sun City MacDonald Ranch Community Association filed that suit in 2003 citing defects in plumbing, concrete walls, stucco exteriors, the community’s recreation center and Desert Willows Golf Course.

Del Webb also has agreed to settle in the larger class action suit. Del Webb and its Coventry Homes of Nevada subsidiary agreed in principal on Nov. 6 to pay $27.2 million toward replumbing about 4,200 homes throughout its communities in the valley.

A fairness hearing set for Dec. 22 was rescheduled to Jan. 12. Judge Williams could approve the Del Webb settlement at the hearing.

For months, many valley residents have wondered whether their house has the faulty Kitec plumbing system and is included in the larger class action lawsuit.

The attorneys for the more than two dozen home builders and the ones representing some 35,000 class action plaintiffs have their lists of homes with Kitec components, but admit they may not have found every single home with the pipes targeted in the suit.

With so many homes and builders involved in the class action, other settlements may exist that conflict with the larger suit, a few attorneys have said.

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

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