Consumers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Fluidmaster Inc., according to Hagens Berman, claiming that the plumbing product and toilet repair company knowingly sold defective toilet connectors that spontaneously broke, causing millions of dollars in property damage at homeowners’ expense.
The complaint, filed Apr. 24, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, states that Fluidmaster elected to sell faulty plastic toilet connectors even when it was mechanically and financially feasible for the company to sell an existing, safer alternative design. According to the suit, more than a million defective toilet connectors were sold in the U.S.
Upon realizing that its plastic toilet connectors were routinely cracking, leaking and causing significant damage, Fluidmaster allegedly responded by lowering its 10 year warranty to five years, according to the suit.
The suit’s two named plaintiffs experienced massive property damage after their Fluidmaster toilet connectors spontaneously failed. One of the plaintiffs, Brian Kirsch, received a call while on vacation from his garbage collector informing Kirsch that water was spilling from an upstairs window of his home and raining into his garage. Kirsch’s home had to be gutted and completely renovated while he and his family were displaced.
Due to the material and design of the toilet connector, the plastic was susceptible to bending with weight and pressure over time, according to the suit. The complaint also cites the company’s poor instructions and warnings that failed to provide the customer with sufficient information to safely and properly install the connectors.
After reducing the product’s warranty, Fluidmaster began to redesign the toilet connector in mid-2011, marketing and selling a new, reinforced connector. According to the complaint, the company never publicized that the product was redesigned and did not recall the defective products from its distribution networks. It also did not notify property owners that the defective products could spontaneously fail and should be replaced – keeping the defective products in use, according to the complaint.
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