JUNE 2010

JM Eagle moves to dismiss lawsuit by ex-employee

JM Eagle, a manufacturer of plastic pipe, asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an ex-employee because it lacks any evidence the company’s pipe was substandard and failed to achieve basic legal thresholds for success.

In addition, JM Eagle filed with the court a motion to strike certain irrelevant and objectionable references in the complaint to the ethnicity and nationality of individuals connected with the company. The plaintiff’s law firm, Phillips & Cohen, was provided an opportunity to remove the offending references themselves, as the law requires, but declined to do so.

JM Eagle asserted that its pipe has always been of the highest quality as verified by regular, independent tests and constant internal inspections. In fact, according to the motion, the plaintiffs did not connect any of the few instances of claimed pipe failures to sales to governmental entities or even allege the problems were the result of fraud.

As proof of its confidence, the company recently placed an unprecedented 50-year warranty on its products for manufacturing defects – including for pipe already in the ground for decades.

The company’s motion asserted that the lawsuit’s accusations are unfounded. “This is a case of a dishonest and disgruntled former employee cobbling together ambiguous technical details, baseless insinuations and innocent mistakes into an inflammatory fraud complaint,” the motion stated. “These fraud allegations are meritless and malicious.”

The lawsuit “fails to identify any pipe sold by JM Eagle that failed to meet contract requirements, specifications, or standards. When pieced together, the allegations do not show that any nonconforming product was received by any particular government customer, much less that any has worn out prematurely,” the motion added. “The allegations boil down to insinuations, misinterpretations, unsupported conclusions, and disagreements over technical matters.”

The motion also notes that the complaint, though still pending in federal district court, has already begun to unravel. “One of Relator’s primary witnesses showcased in the complaint, Brian Wang (a former plant manager for 22 years) gave a sworn statement claiming the falsity of the quotes attributed to him,” the motion stated. “Not surprisingly, the Federal Government and the States of California and Florida have already declined to intervene in this ill-conceived complaint (and others are expected to follow).”