Massachusetts is bowing out of the whistle-blower lawsuit against PVC pipe maker JM Eagle.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced the commonwealth's decision not to intervene in the case, in papers filed June 8 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
Massachusetts was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by whistle-blower John Hendrix, a former JM Eagle employee who argues the pipe maker knowingly made substandard PVC water and sewer pipe for years.
Massachusetts joins attorneys general in California and Florida as well as the U.S. Justice Department who have decided not to join the whistle-blower suit.
However, citing Massachusetts' law, the court filing allows Hendrix to maintain the action in the name of the commonwealth, and it gives guidelines for dismissal. Massachusetts also retains the right to intervene in the case later, upon a showing of good cause.
Hendrix filed his whistle-blower suit in 2006, but it was kept under seal until becoming public Feb. 8 of this year, unleashing a flurry of media reports.
JM Eagle has denied the charges and is aggressively fighting back, charging that Hendrix proposed a kickback scheme to a customer while he worked at the company.
JM Eagle also released a sworn statement from a former plant manager that he denies saying the company tool measures that intentionally compromised the quality of its pipe as stated in the whistle-blower suit.
Los Angeles-based JM Eagle announced a 50-year warranty on its water and sewer pipe, extending the warranty to cover pipe it made in the past.
The more states and local governments learn about the facts of the case, the less they want to have anything to do with it, said Neil Gordon, JM Eagle's vice president of marketing, in a news release.
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