Chinese Drywall Litigation: How Best to Protect Your Company

Alerts / May 18, 2009

By James L. Moore and Gregory C. Ulmer

Numerous lawsuits have been filed recently in the southeastern United States by homeowners alleging that defective drywall manufactured in China was installed in their houses. Homeowners have sued drywall manufacturers, local drywall suppliers and homebuilders. Many of the lawsuits identify Knauf Plasterboard and related companies as the alleged manufacturers of some of the drywall at issue. The allegations in these cases include claims that sulfides are emitted from the drywall in warm, humid climates, eroding copper wiring and coils in homes and air conditioners. There are also allegations of noxious odors in the houses and respiratory difficulties suffered by the homeowners.

Florida homeowners have filed at least six class action lawsuits alleging violations of product liability statues and state consumer fraud statutes, negligence and breach of express and implied warranties. Similar class action lawsuits have also been filed in Alabama and Louisiana. The alleged defective Chinese drywall was reportedly first used around 2002 during the housing construction boom, particularly in Florida. An estimated 60,000 homes in the U.S. may be affected.

As more complaints and lawsuits surface, businesses that were involved with the manufacture, supply or installation of Chinese drywall will likely encounter related legal and economic challenges and could face long, expensive legal battles.

Baker Hostetler’s Construction and Product Liability Teams have extensive litigation experience involving various construction deficiencies. Baker Hostetler can help advise you on how to best protect your company in light of the expanding issues associated with alleged Chinese drywall contamination.

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