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TOPIC: Judge Awards $2.6 Million in Chinese Drywall Suit

Judge Awards $2.6 Million in Chinese Drywall Suit 12 years 5 months ago #30828

From Bloomberg.com

By Bob Van Voris and Allen Johnson Jr.

April 8 (Bloomberg) -- A federal judge in New Orleans ruled that a Chinese company that made defective drywall must pay $2.6 million to fix seven Virginia homes.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon today ruled that Taishan Gypsum Co., which didn’t contest the lawsuit, must pay to “remove all drywall in their homes, all items which have suffered corrosion as a result of the Chinese drywall and all items which will be materially damaged in the process of removal.”

More than 2,100 homeowners in the U.S. have filed federal suits claiming their homes were damaged or ruined by defective drywall that gives off noxious odors and chemicals that can corrode wiring, plumbing and heating equipment.

The ruling is the first in a series of bellwether trials to help determine the course of other cases. Fallon, who is overseeing federal drywall lawsuits nationwide, has said that today’s ruling will help determine the extent and cost of home repairs required in other cases.

On April 2, U.S. regulators recommended that homeowners remove all defective drywall and replace gas-service piping, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms and other electrical components and wiring that may have been damaged.

Possible Cases

At a status conference today, Fallon said the lawyers in the cases are still trying to determine the total number of people claiming harm from defective drywall. The possible number of claims ranges from fewer than 3,000 to more than 40,000, he said.

“The challenge of this case is to get our arms around it and see how many parties are out there,” Fallon said. “The parties ought to know what the universe is. The truth of the matter is we just don’t know at this point.”

Arnold Levin, a lawyer for homeowners, told Fallon that state courts in Florida have scheduled three separate Chinese drywall cases for trial in June. Seven other state cases are pending in Virginia.

The case is In Re Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, 09-MD-02047, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

To contact the reporters on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Allen Johnson Jr. in federal court in New Orleans at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Last Updated: April 8, 2010 19:02 EDT

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Dominic Maricic
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