This class action is brought against Defendants Costco Wholesale Corporation, CVS and Nice-Pak Products, Inc. (“Nice-Pak”) (collectively referred to as “Defendants”) to recover for the harm caused by Defendants’ deceptive, improper or unlawful conduct in the design, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, and sale of flushable wipes. Flushable wipes include all wipe products marketed and advertised by manufacturers as able to be flushed without causing harm to plumbing and sewer systems.
Defendant Nice-Pak manufactures Kirkland Signature Moist Flushable Wipes for Defendant Costco under its generic brand, Kirkland Signature (the “Kirkland Signature Wipes”). Defendant Nice-Pak manufactures the brand Total Home by CVS Flushable Moist Wipes (together with the CVS Brand Flushable Wipes, the “CVS Flushable Wipes”) for CVS.
Because flushable wipes do not disintegrate immediately upon flushing, like toilet paper, they cause serious problems for homeowners and municipalities alike. An article in New York Magazine chronicling the problems caused by flushable wipes points out that flushable wipes do not break down as easily as toilet paper, nor can they, if they are to do their job effectively. Unlike toilet paper, flushable wipes must hold up under the pressure of scrubbing after being soaked in water and propylene glycol lotion for an extended period of time. To be useful, flushable wipes must be strong enough to do their job effectively, which cannot be done if they disintegrate in water as easily as toilet paper. Thus “the very thing that makes a wet wipe good at its job makes it a problem once it’s discarded.”
Plaintiffs and other consumers purchased defective flushable wipes designed, marketed, manufactured, distributed, and sold by Defendants as safe to be flushed (the “Class”). Through the ordinary and/or directed use of flushable wipes, consumers across the country experienced plumbing issues, including clogged toilets, clogged pipes, flooding of home basements and other plumbing problems. Plaintiff and members of the Class would not have purchased the flushable wipes and/or paid the purchase price for the flushable wipes if they knew that flushing the wipes would cause the wipes to become clogged in sewer or septic systems. Absent Defendants’ actions, and had Plaintiff and members of the Class known of the defective nature of the flushable wipes, Plaintiff and members of the Class would not have purchased and/or paid the purchase price for the flushable wipes. And, absent Defendants’ actions, and had Plaintiff and members of the Class known of the defective nature of the flushable wipes, Plaintiff and members of the Class would not have used the flushable wipes in their homes and risked damaging the plumbing systems in their homes, or, worse, causing damage in their homes due to backups caused by the use of flushable wipes.