ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 10, 2007 LAWFUEL – The Class Actions Newswire …

ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 10, 2007 LAWFUEL – The Class Actions Newswire — Homeowners in Minnesota have filed a class action lawsuit in federal district court against the manufacturer of residential plumbing systems. The homeowners, Denise and Terry Cox from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, started the nationwide class action against Zurn Pex, Inc. and Zurn Industries after brass plumbing fittings used in their home’s PEX plumbing system failed shortly after completion of their new home. The failures caused water and other damage at the Cox home.

PEX plumbing systems involve flexible plastic plumbing tubes (as opposed to the more common copper plumbing systems) that are attached to brass fittings throughout the plumbing system. “PEX” is a generic term for cross linked polyethylene — the material used to make the plastic piping. PEX plumbing systems are the newest generation of non-copper plumbing systems coming into favor after the plumbing industry stopped selling the failure-prone polybutylene pipe systems.

According to Cox’s attorney, Shawn Raiter, the problems with Zurn’s brass fittings can cause significant damage to homes. “Water damage from a total failure, or even a slow leak, can cause serious damage. A large percentage of the brass fittings in a typical residential PEX system are hidden behind drywall or between floors. If undetected, water damage from a leaking fitting can even lead to mold, which in turn can pose a health risk.”

Over the last six years, Zurn has reportedly sold 139 million of the brass PEX fittings. Because of the premature failures, certain Zurn distributors have subsequently requested and received refunds for the brass fittings. In fact, according to Raiter, Zurn no longer recommends installation of the brass fittings in certain geographic areas. Yet, Zurn currently denies that these failures will continue, much like its predecessor U.S. Brass did before filing bankruptcy because of litigation related to its polybutylene systems.

Some plumbers have had 150 or more claims related to failed Zurn fittings. And while Zurn initially honored its warranty and covered the damage caused by the failed brass fittings, the company stopped paying claims, leaving homeowners to pay for the damage themselves.

The Cox’s lawsuit seeks to include the claims of all owners of Zurn PEX systems with brass fittings in the United States. The Cox’s are seeking damages to pay for the complete replacement of all brass Zurn fittings for PEX systems, regardless of whether those fittings have already failed, as a way to prevent damage caused by future leaks and failures.

The lawyers for the Cox’s recommend that owners’ properties with Zurn PEX systems contact them to discuss their rights. “It is important that consumers are aware of this lawsuit. If consumers provide their contact information, we can keep them informed about the status of the litigation. Also, if the lawsuit is successful — by settlement or judgment — contact information can help us notify consumers how to obtain their share of any recovery,” said Shawn Raiter.

More information about the lawsuit may be obtained at

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