Chinese Drywall Victims Awarded $2.6 Million, Judge Says Homes Must be GuttedDate: April 8th, 2010: The owners of seven Virginia homes contaminated with toxic Chinese drywall have been awarded $2.6 million by the federal judge overseeing the Chinese drywall multidistrict litigation (MDL) currently underway in New Orleans. The trial was considered a “bellwether” or test case, and the decision could affect how lawsuits by thousands of other homeowners are settled.
Parker Waichman LLP, A Leading National Firm Dedicated to Protecting Homeowners Rights, Is Investigating Allegations That Builders Are Using Coercive Tactics and One-Sided Remediation Agreements to Limit Chinese Drywall Liability.
Parker Waichman LLP has been contacted by several homeowners with Chinese drywall who have been coerced by their builders into signing unfair, one-sided remediation agreements. Parker Waichman LLP filed the first Chinese drywall lawsuit in federal court, and continues to aggressively prosecute these claims.
Builders in Florida implicated in using Chinese drywall have been accused of preying on desperate homeowners with the goal of inducing them into forfeiting all of their legal rights in return for an inadequate remediation of their homes. These unethical builders are continually contacting, and in many cases harassing, their customers, whether they are represented by counsel or not. Some builders are misleading the homeowners into believing that their sole remedy is to permit the builder to do the remediation. Naive homeowners, anxious to have their homes made livable, are relying on empty promises and other oral representations made by builders that are not contained in written agreements. As a result, many homeowners have entered into written agreements without understanding the full implications of this action. In all cases builders are refusing to perform any remediation unless the homeowner signs one of these unconscionable, one-sided agreements.
These agreements release the builder from all current and future claims of liability. They also assign all of the homeowner’s rights to the builder enabling the builder to go after any other party(s) responsible for any claims or damages the homeowner could have asserted. The agreements do not provide for compensation for many of the homeowner’s losses including damage to personal property, reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses, diminution in market value, inability to refinance, detriment to credit resulting from default and/or foreclosure, and loss of enjoyment. These agreements do not require builders to cover any mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, insurance and/or Home Owners Association fees, or other expenses during the period of remediation, during which time the owner cannot use the property. Almost all of the agreements provide only a 1 year Limited Warranty that is not transferable or assignable to subsequent purchasers and will leave the homeowner without a remedy after the expiration of the 1 year period.
People who have had their homes remediated under these agreements have expressed dissatisfaction with both materials and workmanship. Unfortunately, the “Scope of Work” in these agreements, if it exists at all, is vague and ambiguous and does not provide for an adequate remediation. In many cases, builders are reinstalling the same cabinetry, plumbing components and electrical fixtures that were already subjected to the toxic fumes emitted from Chinese drywall. When builders do bother to replace materials and appliances, they are often cheaper, and of inferior quality. Many builders are taking an unreasonable amount of time to begin and complete the remediation.
Parker Waichman LLP is currently offering free consultations to any homeowner who was coerced by a builder to enter into such a one-sided, unfair agreement. Consultations are available through our website at www.yourlawyer.com, by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529), or through our Florida office directly at (239) 390-1000. If you or someone you know has been victimized by a builder in this way, we urge you to contact us immediately to protect your legal rights.
About Parker Waichman LLP
Parker Waichman LLP is a leading products liability and personal injury law firm that represents plaintiffs nationwide. The firm has offices in Florida, New York and New Jersey. Parker Waichman LLP has assisted thousands of clients in receiving fair compensation for injuries resulting from defective products, drugs and medical devices. We represent plaintiffs in both class action and individual lawsuits. For more information on Parker Waichman LLP, please visit: www.yourlawyer.com or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
CONTACT: Parker Waichman LLP
27399 Riverview Center Boulevard
Bonita Springs, Florida 34134
(800) YOURLAWYER (800) 968-7529
The lawyers / attorneys at our firm are offering free consultations to residents of Florida and other states whose homes have been ruined by defective Chinese drywall. Owners of new homes – mostly in South Florida, but some in Virginia as well – have been complaining of drywall that smells like rotten eggs. Reports indicate that the drywall emits a sulfur compound that corrodes wiring, air conditioning coils and other metals, and may cause health problems from chronic exposure. It has been determined that the drywall responsible for these problems was imported from China.
Our Chinese drywall lawyers are actively investigating these complaints, and we have seen how devastating the problems caused by defective Chinese drywall can be. Many people have been driven from their homes by the putrid smell. First and foremost, there are concerns that the fumes being emitted by the Chinese drywall could cause respiratory and other health problems.
Many Chinese drywall victims have spent thousands to repair or replace wiring, air conditioning units and other systems destroyed by the fumes. Many are also concerned that the drywall issues will affect the value of their houses, as well as their ability to sell. This is especially true in Florida, where home values have already been decimated by the recent real estate collapse.
Our firm will work hard to make sure the builders, suppliers and manufacturers responsible for this defective Chinese drywall are held accountable.
If you have experienced foul odors in your home, corroding air conditioning coils and wiring, or any other problem related to Chinese drywall, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call our Chinese drywall lawyers right away to protect your legal rights.
8/25/09 The Big 870 WWL New Orleans – Garland Robinette – Interview with Danny Becnel and Jerry Parker regarding chinese drywall.
8/10/09 CPSC Press Statement Regarding Drywall and Phosphoypsum — Click Here
8/10/09 Testing of Chinese Drywall for Radiation — Click Here
8/10/09 Reports of Drywall “Cases” to DOH County Health Departments (Florida Only) — Click Here
7/30/09 Reports of Drywall “Cases” meeting FL-DOH’s Case Definition (Across USA) — Click Here
6/3/09 Imported Drywall and Health – A Guide for Healthcare Providers 6/3/09– Click Here
7/21/09 CNBC — Leading National Law Firm Dedicated to Protecting Homeowners Rights, Launches Chinese-Drywall-Answers.com to Provide the Most Complete and Timely Information on Defective Chinese Drywall — Click Here
7/15/09 United States District Court/Eastern District of Louisiana-Eastern District of Louisiana’s ongoing court docket concerning Chinese drywall Multidistrict Litigation — Click Here
7/20/09 CNBC — National Law Firm Investigating Allegations That Builders Are Using Coercive Tactics and One-Sided Remediation Agreements to Limit Chinese Drywall Liability — Click Here
7/09/09 PRNewswire — Investigation of Hundreds of Chinese Drywall Claims on Behalf of Homeowners — Click Here
4/3/09 Governor Charlie Crist’s letter to EPA and CDC PDF– Click Here
3/18/09 CNN News — Chinese-made drywall ruining homes, owners say — Click Here
US Consumer Product Safety Commision-Drywall Information Center– Click Here
Chinese Drywall Problems
Drywall is the board used to make interior walls. Usually, it is manufactured in the United States, but a shortage between 2004 and 2006 prompted many builders to buy drywall from China. Our firm’s investigation has confirmed that most of the reported problems stem from drywall imported from China during Florida construction boom years of 2004-2005. One official with a large building supply company recently told a Florida newspaper that more than 10-million square feet of the Chinese drywall was imported to southwest Florida during that time.
In some Florida developments, the drywall issue emerged after months of failures in heating and cooling systems. Air-conditioning evaporator coils, which are supposed to last a decade or more, are corroding and failing in homes only a couple of years old. Pipes and wiring may also be deteriorating because of the Chinese drywall fumes.
Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd. of China, subsidiary of German-based manufacturer Knauf, is the company at the center of Florida drywall problems. Reports have indicated that some of the drywall may have been kept on barges at sea for months awaiting permission for importation to the United States. There is speculation that the humidity the material was exposed to while at sea may have something to do with the drywall’s fume problems.
Knauf has issued a statement insisting that the sulfur-like smell coming out of its drywall poses no dangers. The company maintains that the damage done to air conditioning and electrical wiring is the result of drywall made by some other company – though it has been unable to name which one. Knauf has also insisted that the drywall problems are confined to Florida, but our firm has become aware of similar reports coming out of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Many of the Florida homes that are the subject of Chinese drywall complaints were built by Lennar Corp., the nation’s second-largest builder by volume. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Lennar is testing, and continues to test, a dozen of its Florida developments and has shared results with the state health department. The company has relocated several families in order to rip out and replace the drywall in their homes.
Our firm is actively working to uncover what other companies, builders and suppliers might share responsibility for the Chinese drywall problem. If you are experiencing similar problems with you home, or have other information about other parties that may have had a hand in this disaster, our Chinese drywall lawyers want to hear from you.
Chinese Drywall Health Problems
There are concerns that the horrible smell coming from Chinese drywall is an indication that the material is emitting toxins that could be dangerous to the health of residents. According to a report on Environmental Expert.com, the drywall is made from gypsum, a natural material. The problems appear to be related to the presence of iron disulfide (FeS2 pyrite). Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbonyl sulfide, sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon isulfide (CS2) are also suspected as culprits, the Web site said.
Health officials are still trying to determine what health problems these fumes might cause. A toxicologist for the state of Florida recently told one newspaper that the odor causes people to experience mild and moderate respiratory irritation that clears up when they leave the homes. Other residents have reported that they are experiencing headaches that also go away when they leave their houses. Other symptoms being reported included irritated eyes, coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, and symptoms similar to bronchitis and asthma.
Especially worrisome is the possibility that the Chinese drywall is emitting hydrogen sulfide fumes. Exposure to 50 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide for more than ten minutes can cause extreme irritation. Inhalation of 500 to 1,000 parts per million can cause unconsciousness and death through respiratory paralysis and asphyxiation, according to environmental experts.
Health officials are most concerned that the Chinese drywall fumes could be especially dangerous for sensitive populations. These include the very young and the elderly. People with asthma and chemical sensitivities would be at greatest risk. These worries have caused many people to flee their homes in an effort to preserve their health.
Chinese Drywall In Canada
Canadian homeowners in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland have also complained of problems with Chinese drywall. In May 2009, various Canadian media outlets reported that about a dozen homeowners in Metro Vancouver had experienced health problems caused by the drywall. The complaints were reportedly coming from Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby and West Vancouver. Published estimates said as much as 929,000 square meters of Chinese drywall arrived in Canada through Vancouver between 2001 and 2007. In addition to lower British Columbia, some Chinese drywall may have been shipped to Canada’s Prairie Provinces and as far east as Toronto.
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