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).”