Covington residents sue over corrosive plumbing system

Michelle Massey Sep. 14, 2010, 2:56am


A Covington couple has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of a plumbing system they say is defective.

Richard and Patrice Clark filed suit against Ipex Inc. and Ipex USA on Aug. 30 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the complaint, the Clarks' plumbing system is defective because it uses brass fittings to connect lengths of pipe. They say those fittings are prone to dezincification, in which zinc is leaching from the brass and causing a white powdery buildup on the side of the fitting. The dezincification process causes water flow to become restricted and cause the pipes to become pressurized, the suit claims.

The Clarks state the increased pressure results in leaks and water damage that eventually requires the removal and replacement of the entire plumbing system.

They claim that a safer alternative design was economically- and technologically-feasible and that it would have prevented the risk of damage.

The defendants are accused of redhibition, violations of the Louisiana Products Liability Act and breach of express warranty.

The Clarks are seeking more than $75,000 in damages for removing and replacing the plumbing system plus court costs, attorney fees and interest.

The Clarks are represented by David O. Walker, Richard J. Arsenault of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault in Alexandria and Robert K. Shelquist of Lockridge, Grindal & Nauen in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv02853

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