06/28/2011 08:42 EDT | Updated 08/28/2011 05:12 EDT

Kitec Plumbing Class Action Suit Reaches $128M Settlement

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- LONDON, Ont. - A proposed $128-million settlement has been reached in class action suits filed in Canada and the United States against IPEX USA LLC involving its Kitec system plumbing products, lawyers for the two sides said Tuesday.

The Kitec system is a type of plumbing product, the components of which include Kitec fittings and Kitec pipe used in a variety of applications, including hot and cold water distribution in plumbing applications and radiant heating systems in homes, residences, buildings or other structures.

The settlement relates to Kitec systems sold under various brand names including Kitec, PlumbBetter, IPEX, AQUA, WARMRITE, Kitec XPA, AmbioComfort, XPA, KERR Controls and Plomberie Amelioree.

The class actions allege that the Kitec System manufactured by IPEX may be subject to premature failure and otherwise may not perform in accordance with the reasonable expectations of users.

Dallas-based IPEX denies the allegations and asserts that the vast majority of the systems will last throughout the warranty period.

"The parties have agreed to the settlement to avoid the expense, inconvenience and distraction of further protracted litigation and to fully resolve this matter," the two sides said in a joint release.

The settlement agreement provides a settlement fund and claims process for claims related to any structures they own, have owned, lease or have leased that contain a Kitec system.

The amount to be paid per claimant depends on the type and extent of any possible failure, the size and installation type of the Kitec system and the available funds in the settlement fund.

The settlement has received preliminary approval by the courts in Ontario, Quebec and in the United States, with final approval hearings scheduled for Nov. 17 in the United States, Nov. 29 in Ontario and Dec. 1 in Quebec.

The Canadian class is represented Siskinds LLP (London, Ont.), Sutts, Strosberg LLP (Windsor, Ont.) and Siskinds Desmeules s.e.n.c.r.l. in (Quebec City).

IPEX is represented in Canada by Goodmans LLP in Toronto and Woods LLP in Montreal.