Chinese Drywall Lawsuits Kicking into High GearJan 25, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
Some big decisions could soon be made in the Chinese drywall litigation currently underway in federal court in New Orleans.
According to a report on HamptonRoads.com, a hearing in on Friday will result in the first judicial decision on remediation and help set the standard for federal trials set to begin in March. In anticipation of the hearing, attorneys for plaintiffs and defendants have been conducting tests on seven Virginia homes to come up with estimates for how much it will cost to fix the problem.
The seven homes in Virginia – one in Virginia Beach, two in Newport News and four in Williamsburg – are intended to serve as a cross section of homes affected by the drywall across the country, HamptonRoads.com said. The homes contain drywall made by Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., a company controlled by the Chinese government. As we reported last year, Judge Fallon issued a default judgment against Taishan for failing to respond to lawsuits. Because of the default judgment, there willl be no jury trials in these seven cases.
Plaintiffs attorneys will ask the judge to rule that the homes be gutted of all of the drywall and electrical wiring and appliances, including removing all copper pipes, HamptonRoads.com said. Under such a plan, the cost of the work would range from $190,000 to $235,000 per home.
Because Taishan won’t be participating in Friday’s hearing, another manufacturer, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd., volunteered to study the seven homes and produce its own estimate for remediation.
Once the judge decides on a remediation plan, it will be binding only two the seven Virginia homes. However, the judge has indicated that that the outcome will “provide some guidance for similarly situated or affected properties.”