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Chinese Drywall Lawsuit Filed in Louisiana

Mar 18, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

A Louisiana couple has filed a class action lawsuit claiming that defective Chinese drywall is in their home.  The Louisiana Chinese drywall lawsuit is just the latest indication that the toxic material was used in homes beyond Florida.

Usually, drywall is manufactured in the U.S., but a shortage during the housing boom prompted many builders to buy drywall from China. The Florida Health Department has received around 119 complaints about drywall that has polluted homes with a putrid, “rotten-egg” smell. Fumes from the drywall reportedly corrode air conditioning coils and other metals, and have also been blamed for respiratory and sinus problems.   Some residents have been forced to move from their homes, and a few builders in Florida have begun gutting homes and replacing the drywall.

The drywall problems have already sparked several lawsuits in Florida. One of the first was filed in January by the Bonita Springs law firm of Parker Waichman LLP. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, charges that Knauf Plasterboard and other defendants negligently manufactured and sold the defective drywall, which was “unreasonably dangerous” in normal use because it caused corrosion to air-conditioning and electrical components, and caused coughing and irritation of sinuses, eyes and throats.

According to the consumer group America’s Watchdog, drywall from China was likely used in the Deep South, the Midwest, the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest, including Vancouver, British Columbia, and even Hawaii.  The group says the material was first introduced to the US in late 2000 or early 2001 and was primarily used in new US subdivisions, condominiums or home remodeling jobs.  So far, America's Watchdog's environmental testing has found defective drywall in 41 states. In addition to Florida, those states also include Virginia, California, Arizona, Nevada, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Texas.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the Louisiana Chinese drywall lawsuit was filed by a couple living in a New Orleans suburb. The class action suit, which was filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana, names certain drywall manufacturers as defendants.  The complaint alleges that their house, which was built in 2006,  is emitting the rotten egg smell, causing respiratory problems and corroding electrical equipment.

According to the Journal, the Louisiana Chinese drywall lawsuit has raised concerns that the defective material may have been used in homes that were rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina.  The storm helped to create that shortage that caused so much Chinese drywall to be imported into the U.S.

USA Today is also reporting that a similar lawsuit has been filed in Alabama.  A lawyer also told USA Today that there have been complaints about Chinese Drywall in other states, as well.


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