Court dismisses JM Eagle's lawsuit against whistle blower

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: July 2, 2014 4:30 pm ET
Updated: July 3, 2014 8:54 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Construction, Pipe/Profile/Tubing, Extrusion, Legal
Companies & Associations J-M Manufacturing Co. Inc.

A New Jersey Superior Court judge has dismissed a case in which pipe maker JM Eagle alleged a whistle blower and the law firm representing him illegally obtained documents relating to the fraud case they brought against JM Eagle.

Judge Douglas Wolfson of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County, on June 30 heard oral arguments on motions brought by the law firm representing John Hendrix and his law firm Phillips & Cohen LLP. The judge granted both motions, according to the counsel for the two defendants, Brian Molloy of Wilentz Goldman & Spicer.

Another case involving the attorneys and JM Eagle is continuing in California, however.

Wilentz filed the motions on May 5 after JM Eagle launched its suit in February. Wilentz argued in the motions that JM Eagle should not have cause of action against parties that exposed a company’s fraud.

“The law encourages this conduct; it does not punish it,” the motion argued.

JM Eagle, called J-M Manufacturing Co. in the alleged fraud period, filed a lawsuit in February in New Jersey against Hendrix and Phillips & Cohen alleging they stole documents. Wilentz’s May 5 motions argued that the case should be dismissed because federal law, New Jersey law and the False Claims Act “all encourage people with knowledge of corporate fraud to expose and remedy that fraud by filing suit under the qui tam provisions of the FCA laws.”

JM Eagle is North America’s largest producer of PVC pipe. Hendrix questioned the quality of pipe made by J-M from 1996-2006 and sold to dozens of U.S. government agencies. Phillips & Cohen argued J-M deceived inspection agencies and ignored failing test results. Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia and dozens of cities and water districts were among the plaintiffs in the fraud case. Legal actions in the case date back to 2006.

J-M filed a suit against Phillips & Cohen in California, accusing the law firm of libel for a headline in a press release issued by the law firm last November. The headline read: “J-M faces billions in damages after jury finds J-M liable for making and selling faulty water system pipes.”

Late last year a federal jury in California found J-M had violated the False Claims Act. Judge Elizabeth Allen White wrote on June 26, 2014 that the finding was not the same thing as finding JM made and sold faulty water pipes, rather that J-M misrepresented uniform compliance

Judge Allen White recently ruled JM Eagle could have a case that the press release mischaracterized the jury verdict and that JM Eagle could prevail on its claims of defamation and trade libel against Phillips & Cohen. Phillips & Cohen stated to Plastics News that it disagreed with that ruling and planned to appeal.

In the New Jersey motions, Wilentz argued that collection of evidence for a False Claims Act suit “is lawful conduct protected by the federal and state FCAs.”


Comments

Court dismisses JM Eagle's lawsuit against whistle blower

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: July 2, 2014 4:30 pm ET
Updated: July 3, 2014 8:54 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Kingspan adds more European production with Joris Ide acquisition

January 27, 2015 10:30 am ET

Kingspan Group plc has purchased insulated panels and building systems supplier Joris Ide Group for 315 million euros ($356 million).    More

Image

Auto supplier Cooper-Standard to trim operations in Europe

January 22, 2015 11:08 am ET

Novi, Mich.-based Cooper-Sandard Holdings Inc. said Jan. 21 it plans to consolidate its operations in Europe, including reducing manufacturing in...    More

Image

New Vinyl Building Council leader out to build on grassroots efforts

January 20, 2015 12:54 pm ET

As the new executive director of the Vinyl Building Council, Kevin Koonce will oversee advocacy for the most-used plastic in building and...    More

Image

Plastics help create net-zero energy home

January 20, 2015 3:31 pm ET

The New American Home — a working lab of best construction practices since 1984 — has reached its greenest goal yet with plastic pushing...    More

Image

Public utilities appeal latest decision in JM Eagle case

January 20, 2015 1:08 pm ET

The law firm representing public utilities in a False Claims Act lawsuit against J-M Manufacturing Co. — now called JM Eagle — plans to ap...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events