Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee: Settlement Announced in Decade-Old Chinese Drywall Litigation Lawsuits
PR NewswireAugust 20, 2019
NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Lawyers for thousands of property owners who alleged that their homes and properties were damaged by defective Chinese drywall filed a motion today asking a federal judge in New Orleans to approve a nationwide settlement of their lawsuits. The Chinese Drywall Litigation has been ongoing for more than ten years. The proposed settlement calls for $248 million to be funded by Taishan Gypsum, Co., a Chinese manufacturer of construction products.
Lead counsel for Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, Arnold Levin said that he is, “extremely pleased with the proposed settlement. If the court approves it, thousands of homeowners affected by Taishan drywall will finally get much needed payments from Taishan.”
Today’s filing asks the Louisiana court for preliminary approval of the settlement terms and proposes a 90-day plan to notify all property owners who may be eligible for part of the payment.
Lawyers for the property owners estimate that thousands of homes and condominium properties were built using the defective drywall between 2005 and 2008, primarily in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia. The defective drywall has been associated with unpleasant odors and fumes that corrode metals, including air conditioning units, fixtures and other appliances.
Beginning around 2009, multiple lawsuits were filed against manufacturers, suppliers, builders, installers and other defendants alleged to have some involvement in making or supplying the problematic drywall. The cases were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation case before Judge Eldon Fallon in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans who presided over more than one hundred status conferences and ruled on dozens of motions, including many addressing complex international and immunity law. Federal courts in Miami, Florida and Norfolk, Virginiahave also handled part of the lawsuits in recent months. An initial set of cases was set for trial before U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke in July, but the outlines of a class settlement were negotiated at a court-ordered mediation in late May.
The proposed settlement filings ask for the court to provide preliminary approval of the agreement, then review the deal again for final approval after a notice period and fairness hearing to occur later this year. The proposal states that detailed information will be sent to known eligible parties and will be made available to the public in the event the court preliminarily approves the settlement. If approved, payments from the settlement would be made to known property owners who have participated in the federal court litigation, as well as to any other property owners who can show that they had Chinese Drywall allegedly made by Taishan Gypsum or other participating defendants.