Two Harris County residents filed a class action lawsuit against two out-of-state manufacturers alleging that their products led to hazards, costly repairs and other issues beginning in 2014.

Robert J. Rosa and Karen F. Posey filed a class action complaint against American Water Heater Company of Johnson City, Tenn., and A.O. Smith Corporation of Milwaukee in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on July 2, claiming “catastrophic failure” in September 2014 when the plaintiffs experienced a flood from the defendants’ product and averring that they were not offered a satisfactory solution.

According to the suit, “One of most critical components is the water heater’s drain valve, which prevents the contents of the water heater’s water tank from rupturing into the owner’s home.” 

The manufacturers made a poor choice by using plastic valves instead of metal ones, purportedly predisposing the heaters to malfunctioning.

The plaintiffs allege breach of warranty and possible defective materials and workmanship. The suit also raises the question of whether the defendants had awareness of the risks involved with their heater’s plastic valves and whether they intentionally neglected to correct the alleged safety flaw.

The lawsuit defines the putative class(es) as consumers who purchased an American Water Heater Company branded residential gas water heater within four years of this filing. It estimates the cumulative amount in controversy to be more than $5 million exclusive of interest and costs.

Claiming to have been damaged by the defendants’ misconduct, the plaintiffs seek actual, exemplary, consequential or general compensation, attorney's fees, expenses and costs. They are represented by Willie Briscoe of The Briscoe Law Firm in Dallas and Jeffrey Krinsk, Mark Knutson, William Restis and Trenton Kashima of Finkelstein & Krinsk in San Diego.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case 4:15-CV-1898

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