INGAA President Lauds House Approval Of Pipeline Permitting Bill

January 2014, Vol. 69 No. 1
Photo of a JM Eagle pipe that cracked and broke in the Calleguas Municipal Water District in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Hendrix is a plaintiff along with the states of Nevada, New Mexico and Virginia, 21 cities in California and 21 water districts in California. Originally filed by Hendrix in 2006, the suit was unsealed Feb. 8, 2010, in Los Angeles in U.S. District Court, when the government entities formally joined the suit.

Los Angeles-based JM Eagle plans to appeal the verdict. It said the lawsuit was brought by a disgruntled former employee.

JM Eagle is on the line for paying billions of dollars in damages to the plaintiffs, as well as dozens of other states, cities and water districts that bought the company's pipe products but didn't join the lawsuit.

During the seven-week trial, the jury heard technical testimony about various pipe failures, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) standards and the forensic analysis of plastic to determine the root causes of failure. They also saw more than 300 JM Eagle documents.

In addition to Reno, the claims in the trial focused on the city of Norfolk, VA, and the Calleguas Municipal Water District, South Tahoe Public Utility District and Palmdale Water District, which are all in California.

Those five government entities were selected from the larger group as exemplar plaintiffs. However, all the states, cities and water districts named in the case could share in the damages that are recovered. The damages are supposed to cover the cost to replace pipes that have failed as well as the cost government entities will pay to replace PVC pipes sooner than expected. Nevada was one of the largest purchasers of JM Eagle pipe and experienced many failures of that pipe.

Meanwhile, Formosa Plastics, which was formerly the owner of JM Eagle, has agreed to pay $22.5 million to those same government entities to settle claims in the qui tam lawsuit about its role in the fraud. The settlement was reached shortly before the JM Eagle trial began in September but wasn't announced at that time. The court must approve the settlement before it is final.

In Memoriam

Ben Montgomery, 95, passed away Nov. 3 in Mesa, AZ. Prior to his retirement as a vice president of CRC-Evans Pipeline International Inc., Montgomery was elected to honorary membership in the Pipe Line Contractors Association. He is survived by his wife Karen, two daughters, one son, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Donations may be made in Ben Montgomery’s name to the Arizona Humane Society, Phoenix, AZ, or the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, AZ.