In the early 1980s, a small group of people filed individual lawsuits against polybutylene plumbing manufacturers. They targeted the manufacturers of the leaking pipes as well as local cities. Later, large class-action lawsuits were filed against the two biggest producers of the product, Shell and DuPont. The companies agreed to settle with the courts, paying out over a billion dollars to the plaintiffs. In the Spencer v. DuPont lawsuit, the defendants reimbursed homeowners up to 10% of the cost of repiping their homes.
The first poly pipes lawsuit was filed against Shell Oil Company and Celanese.
The case settled for $950 million, and it named the two companies responsible for producing the acetal resin used in pipe fittings. The lawsuit alleged that both defendants misrepresented the durability and ease of installation of polybutylene plumbing systems. The defendants, Shell and Celanese, had been eyeing the residential home market in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and their sales teams began a nationwide lobbying effort to convince class members that the PB resin was the safest and most durable option for pipe fittings.
The most recent poly pipes lawsuit, Spencer et al. v. Shell Oil Co., was settled in 1995 for $950 million. The homeowners involved in the case were given free replacement pipes and were awarded the money. Many of these people would notice leaks, get them fixed, and complain to the seller. In the end, enough people complained that the PB pipes caused leaks in their home and they were given the chance to sue the company.
Another class-action lawsuit, Spencer et al. v. Shell Oil Co., was settled for $1.103 billion, and the plaintiffs received a settlement.
This was the first time that a large sum of money went to homeowners who had been harmed by acetal and polybutylene pipes. The suit was later settled with DuPont, which made the pipe and fittings. Unfortunately, the affected homeowners can no longer file for damages. Both funds have been deactivated.
The plaintiffs in the Spencer v. Shell Oil Co. lawsuit were able to recover $120 million through a class action settlement with the defendants. The lawsuit was filed in Alabama but was eventually thrown out with prejudice. The class-action did not end, but the lawsuit has lasted until today. The defendants were sued by thousands of homeowners. The first major settlement was a massive $950 million deal, but a large settlement with DuPont was not enough. Those who suffered from leaking PB pipes can still file their cases if they can prove they were affected by the faulty piping.
In addition to the Jones v. DuPont settlement, there are several other lawsuits involving acetal pipes.
Both of these cases were filed in the Circuit Court of Greene County, Alabama. The lawsuit was brought in response to the widespread problem of leaks in acetal PVC and polybutylene pipes. In the case, the defendants settled for $950 million. Although the settlement in the Spencer v. DuPont case was a huge win for the plaintiffs, the outcome was not.
A third poly-pipes lawsuit was filed in Tennessee in 1995. The case settled for $950 million. It involved acetal piping and certain fittings. Both lawsuits were filed in the Circuit Court of Greene County, Alabama. Both companies settled in the case by providing affected homeowners with free replacement pipes. The Cox vs. Shell Oil Co. litigation covered nearly all of the state’s acetal piping.
In a 1996 class-action lawsuit filed in the state of Tennessee, Spencer et al. v. Shell Oil Co., the company’s owners were granted free replacement pipes to homeowners who bought a home with acetal piping.
Fortunately, the settlement in both cases was so large that the settlements were so large that the companies settled the case. In addition to the Jones v. DuPont, the lawsuit also dealt with the manufacturers of acetal piping.
The second class-action lawsuit filed in Tennessee was called Spencer v. Shell Oil Co., and it included a class of polybutylene piping and acetal fittings. Although both suits were settled, the majority of the affected homeowners were no longer able to receive compensation. The websites of both settlement funds were deactivated. Regardless of the results of the lawsuits, the settlements were worth millions of dollars.