A Federal Court has endorsed a class action lawsuit against a Chinese drywall-producing company. The lawsuit is quickly moving toward a trial in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
The action could open the floodgates for similar lawsuits related to problems reported in U.S. homes where the imported drywall was used.
Claimants in the case allege Chinese drywall produced by Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Company has led to problems such as home wiring corrosion and respiratory health issues. Thus far, about 2,000 complaints have been filed with HUD from homeowners residing in 30 states. However, high-end estimates project as many as 100,000 homes could be affected by suspect drywall products manufactured by several Chinese companies.
U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon confirmed that Knauf Plasterboard waived its right to be served the class action suit through a time-consuming process outlined in the Hague Convention for the Service of Process Abroad. Under the Hague Convention, claimants typically would have to pay about $15,000 per lawsuit service. Knauf Plasterboard’s acceptance of the service essentially eliminates this cost and expedites the timetable for court proceedings, which could begin as early as January. The trial is slated to be the opening courtroom salvo in what could become a lengthy series of legal battles over the Chinese drywall issue.
In another action, the Nat’l Assn. of Home Builders urged developers that used suspect drywall to speak with affected homeowners about drywall problems and buy some time. (Story continues….For the rest of this EXCLUSIVE breaking news simply click on or cut and paste the link below into your Web browser – no signup required!)
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