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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

Really, Really Big Toilet Leak Brings Lawsuit Against Chinese Manufacturer

November 18th, 2013 - An ACE Group unit has sued a Chinese company that made a plastic nut that allegedly failed and set in motion a leak that caused more than $1 million in damages to the home of its client.

Bankers Standard Insurance Co. said that Zheijang Dingbo Plumbing Manufacturing Co., of Lucheng, China, had a duty to manufacture and distribute a coupling nut in such a manner that it would not contain a latent defect that would cause it to crack and fail. Also named in the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Nashville, Tenn., were MTD (USA) Corp., River Edge, N.J., and Interline Brands Inc., of Jacksonville, Fla. and Knoxville, Tenn.

The ACE unit said troubles for Zheijang began on Aug. 12, 2012, when a plastic coupling nut that is at the heart of this lawsuit failed on a toilet water supply line at the home of Steven and Linda Mason in Nashville, Tennessee. Approximately two years prior to that, the Masons had hired Myers Plumbing Inc., a local plumbing contractor, to replace toilets in their home. In the process, Myers installed a flexible toilet supply line that contained the coupling nut in question.

According to the Complaint, the nut’s failure caused the toilet to leak water throughout the Masons’ home. Bankers Standard paid $1.236 million in damages, clean-up and temporary relocation expenses to the Masons from their home, which is located in the fashionable Belle Meade district of Nashville.

The insurer said that a microscopic examination of the nut showed that there were voids in its forming material. The report further stated that a crystal-like structure had accumulated on the nut, indicating that improper material molding had taken place.

Injection molding of plastic, said the lawsuit, requires that liquid material fill the mold and cool in such a manner as to leave no voids or create areas where fusion does not take place. But Bankers Standard said that was exactly what happened to the Masons, as the fracture of the coupling was the result of stress created by voids and lack of fusion in the molded plastic nut.

In asking for damages, Bankers Standard claimed the defendants’ product was defective and unreasonably dangerous due to the alleged defects.  

 

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