Four states join whistleblower suit

John O'Brien Feb. 11, 2010, 12:48pm


LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - Four states are joining in a whistleblower lawsuit against a company alleged to have supplied substandard pipes for water and sewer systems.

The states of Nevada, Virginia, Delaware and Tennessee are among 47 plaintiffs suing JM Eagle and its former parent company, Formosa Plastics Corp. The suit alleges JM Eagle's PVC pipes had to be replaced sooner than expected.

The suit was unsealed this week in Los Angeles federal court. Phillips & Cohen is representing the whistleblower, Virginia, Tennessee and 25 California cities and water districts.

"The decisions by so many states, cities and water districts to join this case show just how serious these allegations are," said Mary A. Inman, a San Francisco attorney with Phillips & Cohen.

"With government entities struggling to meet their budgets, it's particularly important for them to recover their losses from any fraud."

Whistleblower John Hendrix was an engineer for J-M Manufacturing's product assurance division in New Jersey. J-M was JM Eagle's corporate predeccessor.

Hendrix was fired less than two weeks after writing a memo that said the pipes tensile strength was substandard, Phillips & Cohen said. He filed his whistleblower suit in 2006.

"We will hold anyone who cheats Nevada taxpayers accountable," Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said.

"For safety, economic and health reasons, water and sewer lines need to be reliable and sustainable to meet the needs of Nevada's citizens."

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