Aquatherm Pipe Lawsuit Investigation
Audet & Partners, LLP is investigating an escalating number of claims as part of a Aquatherm pipe lawsuit on behalf of building owners, contractors, and others. These claims come on the heels of a recent verdict by a Seattle jury awarding $18 million to a county in the State of Washington who had used Aquatherm pipe in a large-scale jail project between 2011 and 2012. The county had argued that the Aquatherm pipe had to be completely replaced within ten years of installation.
Evidence at trial suggested that Aquatherm had knowledge of a fundamental vulnerability of its pipes to potentially copper-catalyzed thermal oxidation as far back as 2010. This weakness in the Aquatherm pipes allegedly forced the county to completely replace the Aquatherm pipes at significant expense. For some time, Aquatherm pipe has been marketed with an extended warranty between ten and fifty years depending on specific pipe variations.
If you are a building owner, contractor or have otherwise purchased and installed Aquatherm piping since 2010, you are urged to immediately contact Audet & Partners, LLP for a free, confidential case evaluation to determine the strength of your potential claim in an Aquatherm pipe lawsuit. You can contact us by completing and submitting the intake form on the right side of this page, or by giving us a call at 800-965-1461.
More Detail on the Aquatherm Litigation
On June 29, 2023, King County in Washington State won a significant legal battle against Aquatherm GmbH, and its American distributors. After a detailed six-week trial, the Seattle jury sided with King County, asserting that Aquatherm and its distributors were responsible for the plumbing leaks that plagued a local jail. The jury awarded $18 million in damages to the county, marking a significant victory for consumer protection laws and demonstrating that manufacturers cannot shirk their responsibility towards product safety.
Background of the Case
In the period from 2011 to 2012, Aquatherm supplied polypropylene pipes for a jail plumbing project in King County. However, within a decade, the entire plumbing system had to be replaced due to recurring leaks and issues. The county argued that this was a direct result of Aquatherm’s unsafe product.
During the trial, it was revealed that the company, and its two former US distributors, Aquatherm Inc. and Aquatherm NA LC, had violated state product liability and consumer protection laws. The jury assigned 80% of the blame to Aquatherm GmbH and 10% each to the US distributors. Aquatherm LP, the exclusive US distributor of Aquatherm green pipe since 2015, was not found liable.
Defense’s Arguments Rejected
The defense had previously argued that King County was at fault due to improper installation and maintenance of the plumbing system. They maintained that the county failed to follow Aquatherm’s instructions during the initial installment or adhere to the manufacturer’s specifications for temperature and pressure. They also claimed that the county used the wrong type of metal clamps, which caused the pipes to crush as they expanded with heat over time.
However, the jury did not find the county negligent. They dismissed the defense’s arguments, reinforcing that Aquatherm and its distributors were primarily responsible for the plumbing failures.
Hidden Product Defects in Aquatherm Pipe
During the trial, King County argued that Aquatherm failed to warn about the product’s susceptibility to copper-catalyzed thermal oxidation. This corrosion process, triggered by copper particles, was a known issue as early as 2010, when experts identified it as the cause of plumbing failures in other systems using Aquatherm pipes.
The county ultimately spent $18 million on system replacement between 2019 and 2022 due to the intensifying leaks and the risk of water damage that could disable the jail’s electronic security system. The county sought double this amount in damages because it expects the system to require another replacement before the end of the 50-year product lifetime that Aquatherm allegedly promised.
While Aquatherm contended that their warranty only covered manufacturing defects, the jury found that the American distributors had breached an express warranty.
Tony Wright, director of the King County Facilities Management Division, expressed satisfaction with the verdict. “While the award for damages was only half of what we sought, it will go a long way toward righting the situation and ensuring that King County taxpayers aren’t on the hook for a manufacturer’s negligence,” Wright said in a written statement.
The verdict represents a significant victory for King County and its taxpayers, reinforcing the importance of product safety and holding manufacturers accountable for their products.