Written by: Jessica A. Goldfarb
We’re back at the beginning – but with more parties to blame this time. Based on the federal court’s recent decision not to allow plaintiffs to add new parties to the existing federal lawsuit, the original plaintiffs are taking their fight to state court. It seems that the plaintiff condo associations have determined it is crucial for them to be able to add the developers, contractors and fire sprinkler installers. When the federal court handed down an ultimatum, the parties chose to walk away from the class action and start all over again in state court.
And so they did – separately. Wind and Latitude have each filed their own lawsuits in Miami-Dade County state court naming all the defendants from the class action BUT also adding the developers, contractors and installers. In addition to the usual array of manufacturers (Allied, Tyco, Lubrizol and many more) Latitude has named the developer, Miami Riverwalk, the general contractor, Suffolk, and the fire sprinkler installer, Summers Fire Sprinklers. As for Wind, they’ve added Neo Epoch 2, Coastal Construction and All Fire Services.
The underlying story, however, remains the same. A conspiracy theory specifically targeting Allied and Lubrizol officials and dating back to 2007 when a Lubrizol chemist first discovered that these alleged defects were caused by combining CPVC pipes, manufactured with Lubrizol resin, and ABF steel pipes, produced by Allied. Plaintiff condo associations allege that the chemist’s findings were intentionally hidden.
Indeed, from that point on, a ripple effect took over, casting a wider and wider net catching others involved in the building process. According to plaintiffs, some knew about these issues and hid them intentionally, and others should have known because of their expertise. Either way, many more are likely to get caught up in this ever widening litigation net.