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Thousands of Chinese Drywall Lawsuits Settled

Dec 16, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP
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Thousands of homeowners with Chinese drywall may finally soon have their home remediated, following yesterday's announcement that Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co., a major manufacturer of the defective wallboard, had agreed to settle claims.   About 4,500 Chinese drywall claimants, mostly those from Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, could be eligible for the Knauf settlement.

According to a report from Bloomberg News, plaintiffs' lawyers say the Chinese drywall settlement could cost Knauf between $800 million and $1 billion.   Two funds will be set up, including an uncapped fund to take care of home repairs.   The second fund will be capped at $30 million, and will pay for other types of losses, including those by people who blame drywall for health problems.

The remediation could cost as much as $150,000 for a 2,500-square-foot house, and would include removing and replacing drywall, as well as electrical wiring, smoke alarms, fire alarms and other safety systems, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.   As an alternative, claimants may opt for a cash option, but they will receive a discounted amount.

The total number of claimants ultimately covered by the settlement will depend on how many are able to prove they have Knauf-made drywall in their homes. However, as many 8,000 claimants who have drywall made by units of Taishan Gypsum Co. and Beijing New Building Materials Public Limited Co. aren't covered in the settlement.  Those companies have not participated in the Chinese drywall litigation.

To date, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) says it has received 3,924 reports from residents of 43 states and the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico, who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes are related to problem drywall.

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