Florida Chinese Drywall Lawsuits Number 150May 11, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
A new report says 15,000 Floridians have joined 150 lawsuits over tainted Chinese drywall. According to a report on news-press.com, some legal experts believe more than 75,000 lawsuits could be filed nationwide over the defective Chinese drywall.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the U.S. imported roughly 309 million square feet of drywall from China during the housing boom from 2004 to 2007. The material reportedly emits sulfur fumes that produce a “rotten eggs” odor and cause metals, such as air conditioning coils, to corrode. The fumes have also been associated with respiratory and sinus problems in some residents. In some homes, the drywall problems have been so severe that families have had to move, and some builders have begun gutting and replacing drywall in the buildings.
While the first Chinese drywall complaints came from homeowners in Florida, it has become clear that the problem is a national one. Reports of defective Chinese drywall have now been recorded in Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Homeowners in these states have also joined Chinese drywall lawsuits.
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the drywall - especially regarding the health consequences of the fumes emitted from the material. The Florida Health Department, which has received scores of complaints about defective Chinese drywall, is expected to release new information on its health affects on May 21.
In Florida alone, 150 different Chinese drywall lawsuits have been filed in Federal Court. These include at least 15 class actions that each represent 100 to several hundred homeowners. According to news-press.com, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation Solution will hold a hearing later this month to determine whether all Chinese drywall lawsuits nationwide should be consolidated in one court with one judge.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation of the United States Courts was created in 1968. Since then, it has consolidated hundreds of thousands of lawsuits that involved high numbers of plaintiffs, including litigation over asbestos, breast implants and other matters.
Multidistrict Litigation is not the same as a class action lawsuit. Each case in a Multidistrict Litigation retains its own identity. If the Multidistrict Litigation process does not resolve the cases, they are transferred back to the court where they originated for trial.