Defective Chinese drywall has become a hot topic in construction litigation during the past several years. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received around 4,000 reports of toxic Chinese drywall from residents in 43 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa and Puerto Rico. Removing and replacing the defective drywall can be very costly and has prompted lawsuits against manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, builders, contractors and installers. If you are involved in a dispute over Chinese drywall or any other defective construction material, an experienced Monmouth County business attorney can help, no matter which side of the dispute you are on.
What Makes the Drywall Defective?
The defective drywall imported from China contains excessive sulfur, which causes it to give off a noxious, egg-like odor. The drywall has been known to cause corrosion damage to electrical wiring, pipes, AC units, household appliances, electronics, silverware and jewelry. Homeowners have also reported adverse health effects associated with toxic Chinese drywall, including itchy and irritated eyes and skin, nasal irritation, nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, persistent coughing, recurrent headaches, sinus infections, and asthma attacks.
Although the CPSC decided not to issue a recall, the agency did release recommendations for how to safely remove defective Chinese drywall, in addition to identifying the metal components in homes that should be replaced.
Chinese Drywall Litigation
Lawsuits over toxic Chinese drywall have been filed around the country. In September, U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon refused to dismiss claims against Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., which, according to CBS News, “made and sold more than 1.8 million sheets of drywall that were shipped to Virginia, Florida, Louisiana and other parts of the U.S. from 2005 to 2009.” Judge Fallon also upheld a $2.6 million default judgment against the Chinese company.
Last December, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. agreed to create an uncapped fund to cover the repair costs of approximately 4,500 affected homes, mostly in Florida and Louisiana. A lead attorney for the plaintiffs estimates the class action settlement will end up being in the neighborhood of $800 million to $1 billion. According to ABC News, homeowners covered by the settlement will be able to choose between having the repairs completed by a “designated contractor,” hiring a credible contractor on their own or taking a cash payment.
Disputes involving defective construction materials can be complicated. A Monmouth County business lawyer helps homeowners and contractors resolve construction defect claims by reaching an agreeable settlement or seeking redress in court. If you are involved in any type of construction litigation matter, contact a qualified Monmouth County business attorney today to protect your rights.