CBS News reports on Phillips & Cohen whistleblower lawsuit against JM Eagle

RENO, NEVADA, Oct. 15, 2012 -- CBS News highlighted some of the problems JM Eagle customers have faced in a story about a whistleblower lawsuit brought by Phillips & Cohen LLP that alleges JM Eagle manufactured and sold substandard PVC pipe used in water systems.

The story, which aired Oct.6, said, "Across the country, JM Eagle customers have fought the odds:

  • a nighttime rupture under a major San Diego road;
  • catastrophic breaks in Calleguas, Calif. in 1999, 2003, '06, '07 and '08. They cost taxpayers $4 million;
  • and in Reno, Nevada, JM Eagle pipe exploded twice in two days on installation workers Casey Jones and Rick Pickworth."

In the first TV interview by the former JM Eagle employee who blew the whistle, CBS reported John Hendrix "says his own company cut corners for profit and hid internal tests allegedly showing some pipe had a high failure rate and was too weak to meet industry standards."

CBS also interviewed Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who worries about both safety and cost.

"It was really about pushing these pipes out the door," Masto told CBS. "They didn't care whether they were defective or not, and their only concern was if somebody found out they were defective. That's what's so troubling about this."

CBS explained, "The government agencies are hoping for a monetary award so that, as JM Eagle pipes break, the company, rather than taxpayers, will have to foot the bill for fixing it."

The whistleblower lawsuit is being brought under state false claims laws.  The CBS news video is posted on the CBS News site.