We have a major breakthrough to report in the Chinese drywall litigation. Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd., one of the major defendants in the litigation, has agreed to accept service of lawsuits for one month.
This agreement, announced by U.S. District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon, will allow claimants with Knauf drywall to consolidate their claims in one omnibus class action lawsuit against the company. What this means is that homeowners with Knauf-made wallboard in their homes must file suit now and arrange to have appropriate inspections on their homes if they are wish to join this lawsuit. This suit will be filed on December 9, 2009, and homeowners must submit their claims by December 2.
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-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).
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 by 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.
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 Fallon.