Chinese Drywall Supplier Seeks to Settle Florida ClaimsJun 15, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP
A proposed settlement of hundreds of Florida Chinese drywall claims was announced yesterday. Under the terms of the settlement, Banner Supply, along with its affiliates and insurers, will pay $55 million to fix as many as 3,000 homes in Florida built with tainted Chinese drywall that was distributed by Banner.
A process for distributing proceeds of the $55 million settlement is still in negotiation, according to a partner with the national law firm of Parker Waichman LLP. The firm, which has an office in Bonita Springs, represents about 1,000 homeowners in the Chinese drywall litigation.
“If somebody suspects or has confirmed through their builder that they have Chinese drywall and have not retained an attorney to represent them, it’s imperative that they do that immediately,” Jordan Chaikin of Parker Waichman LLP told the Miami Herald.
During Florida's housing boom earlier this decade, Banner Supply distributed about 1.4 million sheets manufactured by China-based Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Since late 2008, owners of thousands of homes built with drywall made by Knauf and other Chinese manufactures have filed complaints with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Sulfurous gases emitted from Chinese drywall are being blamed for significant property damage, including damage to HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, and other household appliances. The CPSC has recommended that such homes be gutted, something that costs at least $100,000.
The Banner Supply Chinese drywall settlement still has to be approved by U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon, who is overseeing the Chinese drywall multidistrict litigation in New Orleans. Those eligible for the settlement will be notified by mail and through the media within 35 days of the settlement once it is approved, the Miami Herald said.
Banner has not admitted liability for the tainted drywall. According to a report from Newsinferno.com, the company said in court papers that when it began receiving complaints about the material in 2006, it informed Knauf Group, the Germany-based parent of Knauf Plasterboard. After testing the material, Banner claims Knauf told it that the drywall was completely safe. But Banner claims Knauf knew that was untrue, and that the tests actually showed the drywall was contaminated.
According to the Miami Herald, Banner says it plans to seek damages against manufacturers that sold defective Chinese drywall.