Settlements Approved in Chinese Drywall Case

Gulf Coast property owners got some welcome news last week when a federal judge approved five class-action settlements that will make available millions of dollars to remediate homes built with defective Chinese drywall.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that the U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon certified the five separate but related settlement agreements between plaintiffs' lawyers and the companies that made, supplied, or installed the defective drywall. The settlements were certified for: Interior/Exterior Building Supply, LP; Banner; L&W Supply Corp.; Knauf and Global participating builders, suppliers, and installers.

The defective Chinese drywall, used to reconstruct homes damaged by destructive hurricanes in 2005, was linked to foul odors and corrosion of pipes and wiring. The material was used in approximately 12,000 to 20,000 homes and businesses in the southern U.S. The settlements are expected to benefit over 10,000 property owners, and most of the $1.1 billion in compensation will be paid by drywall maker Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co., according to AP.

The company has agreed to create an uncapped fund to pay for repairing roughly 5,200 properties, mostly in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. A separate fund of $30 million will be used to pay for other losses, which include health problems caused by the defective drywall.

Approximately 300 plaintiffs have reportedly opted out of the five settlements, according to AP.

Fallon declined last year to dismiss claims against Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., another Chinese drywall maker. Taishan has challenged that ruling and argues that U.S. courts do not have jurisdiction over claims against it.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by an unsafe home product such as defective drywall, contact Sokolove Law today for a free legal consultation and to learn if a product liability lawyer may be able to help you.

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