Class Action Plaintiffs Against Chinese drywall await a federal judge’s decision
Chinese Drywall Class Action Plaintiffs Await Chinese drywall await a federal judge’s decision
Nearly 3,000 homeowners who claim their homes and personal property have been ruined by cheaply made Chinese drywall await a federal judge’s decision after a trial to determine damages in a class-action lawsuit concluded Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Edon Fallon, who certified the class, heard testimony from expert witnesses in New Orleans and will decide damages without the participation of a jury. The judge plans to make a decision toward the end of the month, after meeting with attorneys from both sides.
The class action includes homeowners from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia who contend thedefective drywall in their homes emitted toxic sulfuric fumes that sickened them and corroded just about anything in their homes containing metal, including wiring and appliances.
Many homeowners who claim they’ve had to abandon their homes and foot the mortgage or rent on a second home say they have been financially ruined.
According to the Associated Press, a plaintiffs’ expert created a formula for calculating damages based on contractors’ quoted prices for repairs and adjusted for regional costs by zip code.
One plaintiffs’ attorney told the Associated Press that some claims dropped from the class action, including loss and enjoyment of property, attorneys’ fees, and costs involved with moving in and out of the property, remain alive and will be tried separately from the immediate damages.
Manufacturer Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., a company owned by the Chinese State, faces damages of between $500 million to half a billion dollars.
Another manufacturer of the defective drywall, German-owned Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co., agreed in 2010 to pay for repairs in the affected homes. A settlement has not yet been reached, but it is expected to be resolved for about $1.1 billion.
As many as 1,000 additional cases don’t fit into the formula Judge Fallon will use to calculate damages and will be tried individually, a plaintiffs’ lawyer told the Associated Press.