Litigation affecting Real Estate. 

We have a new issue in town, presenting Kitec Fittings…..   On October 17, 2006 in the District Court, Clark County, Nevada, Case No. A493302 a class action was certified concerning Brass Kitec Plumbing Fittings.  The Plaintiffs counsel has a web site at www.plumbingdefect.com.  Take that web site with a grain of salt, it is designed by the Plaintiffs’ counsel who are poised to earn money if they win their case.  I am not aware of Kitec’s defense web site, when I find it, I will share it with you. 

What does it mean to you?  It should not mean anything.  But we the world’s not a perfect place.  The reason it should not mean anything to you is that a Nevada licensee is not responsible for investigating property they are selling.  I have argued this point for years, that you are conduits of information, not creators of information.  Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, but I am right.  As a licensee you are a marketer and a salesperson.  You are not an investigator, no are you a guarantor of the condition of the property you are selling.  I have taken this point to the next level and in July of 2007 you will see Senate Bill 69 rendered law wherein I changed the Nevada statutes to clarify, what has always been the case that real estate licensees, “Owe no duty to conduct an investigation of the condition of the property.”  Go to http://www.leg.state.nv.us/74th/Reports/history.cfm?ID=183 for the entire history of this new law.  Thank you, thank you, you’ve been a great agent base tonight. tip your waiters, I am here all year. 

Back to Kitec.  So why is Kitec an issue?  Because sometimes certain ‘confusing’ or ‘scary’ issues come up and we have to face facts and move faster and in better detail than our statutory duties require.  Therefore, years ago, I created the Prudential®, Americana Group, REALTORS®, All Inclusive Form.  This form is a questionnaire for our Sellers and general information for our Buyers to give them a heads up on new/contemporary issues affecting Southern Nevada.  It started with the mold form and grew.  Remember, the Nevada Required NRS 113 Sellers Real Property Disclosure Statement already asks a Seller if there has been, for example, water invasion?  And/or any other matter affecting the property.  Therefore, if a seller had mold through their house, the SRPD easily addresses that subject and as a Nevada licensee you should not have been concerned.  Well….ours was the first mold case in Las Vegas in 1996 (originally the Plaintiff blamed the smell in the house on sewer issues and later amended their claim to mold) and it cost the Sellers and other Defendants thousands and thousands of dollars for an issue no one could even pronounce,  (Stachybotrys Chartarum, pronounced Stacky Bo Trus Sha Ta Rum).  My office wrote the first mold form in Nevada.  I shared it with any and every broker in the state, if they wanted, attempting to educate the whole REALTOR® community to stop the madness.  Because, as I predicted, mold was not end of real estate.  It’s an issue, like any issue, it can be remedied.  It only occurs in certain occasions, it is not as toxic as it was presented, etc. etc. 

So, that brings me to Kitec.  It’s a mold-type issue.  It is moving faster that the average consumer/seller can keep up.  It is an alleged defect in a certain type of plumbing.  Simply stated, at the joints of the pipes clogging within the pipe occurs at times causing the bursting of pipes within a home.  Due to its nature, the remedy is to re-plumb the entire home.  This cost is currently bid at approximately $5,000 per 1,000 square feet.  That’s right.  One remedy is to re-plumb the entire home for thousands of dollars.  The SRPD should address this right?  Of course.  However, does ever seller know that they may have such plumbing within their home?  Of course not.  And it’s not their fault.  With time we will know more and have clearer, more financially efficient answers.  Right now we are in a Rumsfeld a “known-unknown.”  Thus the amendment to the All Inclusive.  And just to make the matter more confusing, Kitec is not construction defect (NRS 40), but products liability.  So it is yet again a side winder of an issue that the SRPD has a difficult time is fleshing out.  Therefore, the All Inclusive now asks if your seller has received notice if the Property is the subject of a class action lawsuit regarding Brass Kitec Plumbing Fittings.  And as always, even if the Seller states, “no or unknown,” the question being posed serves to inform your buyer of this issue.  And that is the point of the All Inclusive, it forces a conversation on issues that the SRPD may not address adequately.  Another question it asks is whether or not the Seller has received settlement monies for such matters and better yet…what did they do with the money? 

As I say in my presentations at the Prudential®, Americana Group, REALTORS® offices, I do not want to introduce any new forms.  There is already too much paper work.  We have actually removed a few forms over the years and right now the Belt Way is on the chopping block.  But I need you to respect and befriend the All Inclusive.  In the All Inclusive are the ‘new and changing’ issues.  So even if your Seller and even you were not aware, we at Prudential®, Americana Group, REALTORS® do our best to point out an issue that may grow into future time consuming resource eating lawsuits.  And now the All Inclusive touches on Kitec.

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