Before making a decision regarding the status of flushable wipes class-action lawsuits, Federal Judge Jack Weinstein schedules a courtroom tutorial to learn all there is to know about the products. The Brooklyn judge is determined to find out whether the supposedly ‘flushable’ moist wipe are actually a hazard to toilets and plumbing.
The Daily News reports that a “science day” tutorial has been planned by Judge Weinstein in his courtroom, where he will have experts in the field of engineering and waste systems debate the products’ “dispensability.”
The informative session is to take place before Weinstein makes a decision to grant class-action status to lawsuits filed by Joseph Kurtz of Brooklyn and Anthony Belfiore of Great Neck, Long Island, who assert that the wipes are wrongly labeled as “flushable.”
The Daily News reports: “The cases could be a watershed for consumers who insist their toilet and sewage clogs are caused by flushable wipes, or for defendants Kimberly-Clark and Proctor & Gamble, which insist the wipes have been “extensively tested and shown to be compatible with toilets, drain lines, sewage pumps, septic tanks, and municipal collection and treatment systems,” according to court papers.
But before he gets there, Weinstein advised the parties that he’s not going to make a seat-of-the-pants judgment without, No. 1, learning the technology of moist flushable wipes, and No. 2, understanding what happens after they’re flushed down the commode.”
In court, Weinstein, 93, said, “I don’t have a clear notion of how these products work, what their consistency is. Everybody in the United States is assumed to use toilet paper, so we all know what that is, but I don’t understand how these products work. I’ve never used these products. If it was straight toilet paper, we know enough about the technology to know what we’re dealing with.”
Kurtz’s suit asserts that Kimberly-Clark’s Cottonell brand wipes, and Belfiore by Proctor & Gamble’s Charmin Freshmates, wrecked his plumbing system.
The lawyers representing the companies maintain that the wipes adhere to the guidelines of two trade groups, which concluded that the products are flushable. They contend that tree roots infiltrating the sewer line are the reason for the plaintiffs’ plumbing issues, not the wipes.