U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon will soon issue a decision in the first federal Chinese drywall case. His judgment will greatly impact the continuing recovery for homeowners across the nation. The case, brought by seven Virginia homeowners against Taishan Gypsum Co., alleges damages resultant from poorly manufactured and corrosive Chinese drywall. At stake is more than $2.5 million in damages. Hundreds of subsequent lawsuits concerning Chinese drywall hang in the balance.
Prior to 2005, very little drywall was imported from China. After the devastation to the southeastern United States by hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, massive reconstruction efforts depleted the supply of domestically produced drywall. In order to accomplish the rebuilding efforts, it became necessary to import Chinese drywall. Since 2006, more than 550 million pounds of Chinese manufactured drywall have been imported and installed in approximately 60,000 homes in a number of different states.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has received thousands of formal complaints from citizens alleging that Chinese drywall leeched noxious substances into homes and offices. The chemicals are linked by some to be causing health problems and corrosion to metals inside walls and appliances. These complaints prompted the EPA to launch an investigation. Last spring, EPA labrotory testing confirmed that sulfur, strontium, and iron were present in samples of Chinese manufactured drywall. The tests also revealed that drywall manufactured in the United States contained no sulfur, and significantly decreased levels of strontium and iron.
The most recent development in the federal case is the expert testimony of Ron E. Wright, P.E., the chief operating officer for Buric. Mr. Wright is an expert in building diagnostics, with over 30 years of experience. He specializes in analyzing why buildings fail to hold up, determining the construction or design deficiencies that contributed to the failure, assessing the damages that have occurred, and establishing the remedies necessary to correct and repair them. In his testimony, Mr. Wright summarized the problems caused by the defective Chinese drywall and what measures were required to address the problems. He also assessed the costs for the necessary reparations to the homeowners’ residences. His testimony could prove crucial to whether the plaintiffs receive the money they are seeking in damages.
Also of interest is the fact that the defendant manufacturing company has refused to answer the lawsuit. Taishan Gypsum Co. has failed to respond to any of the allegations and did not show up to the trial in front of Judge Fallon last week. If a ruling is made against the company, the plaintiffs could be given the right to seize any assets of Taishan Gypsum that touch US soil, which may include ships as well as any cargo they may be carrying.
If you have been exposed to Chinese drywall, contact the Berniard Law Firm. Providing the best experts in products liability, our law firm is fully capable of meeting your litigation needs. Call the Berniard Law Firm Toll-Free at 1-866-574-8005 and an attorney will be more than happy to help you seek recovery.