Victims Who Haven’t Yet Filed a Lawsuit. Chinese drywall victims who haven’t yet filed a lawsuit for damages need to do so now. That’s because a major drywall manufacturer – Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd. – has agreed to accept service of lawsuits for one month. This agreement will allow claimants with Knauf drywall to consolidate their claims in one omnibus class action lawsuit against the company.
The lawsuit will be filed on December 9, 2009. Under the agreement, all claimants who wish to be included in this omnibus class action complaint must submit proof that their properties contain Knauf manufactured drywall to Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel by December 2, 2009. Parker Waichman LLP, the first law firm to file a federal Chinese drywall lawsuit, is offering assistance to any homeowner interested in joining the Knauf lawsuit. Free consultations are available through the firm’s website at www.yourlawyer.com, or by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received about 1,897 reports from residents in 30 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico concerning Chinese drywall. 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. People living with Chinese drywall have also suffered eye, respiratory and sinus problems that may be linked to the gases. The drywall problems have forced many people out of their homes, and some families are dealing with the heavy financial burden of paying both rent and mortgage payments. Those unable to afford additional rent have no choice but to stay in their smelly – and possibly hazardous – homes.
Suit Against Chinese Drywall Manufacturers
Hundreds of homeowners have filed suit against Chinese drywall manufacturers over this disaster. All federal litigation involving defective drywall products has been consolidated in the multidistrict litigation, MDL 2047, pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, before Judge Eldon E. Fallon.
Knauf is alleged to be a subsidiary of the German based Knauf Gips KG and is one of several Chinese companies that has been accused of manufacturing and importing defective drywall from China into the U.S. Until today, Knauf had required that service of process of any lawsuit be made through the Hague Convention, which sets forth the method for the service of process abroad. This had been a major obstacle to many Chinese drywall plaintiffs because The Hague Convention for the Service of Process Abroad requires claimants to pay approximately $15,000 per lawsuit, which allows for the translation of legal documents into Chinese and to have them presented to the appropriate authorities in China to obtain service on the Chinese drywall manufacturers.
Under an agreement announced by Judge Fallon today, Knauf has agreed to accept service of process and waive its express rights under the Hague Convention only for homeowner plaintiffs who are named in an omnibus class action complaint to be filed on December 9, 2009 in In re Chinese Drywall Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2047. Homeowners wishing to join this lawsuit must contact a lawyer now, and arrange to have appropriate home inspections completed prior to that date.
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