A Chinese drywall class-action lawsuit is ready to move forward in the wake of one defendant’s agreement to accept service of the lawsuit complaint in the United States. Knauf Plasterboard, one of the defendants in the class action lawsuit, has agreed to accept service in the United States. This is a major victory for homeowners seeking to hold Chinese drywall manufacturers accountable for the contamination of their homes. It also will save each plaintiff $15,000 in registration fees.
The Chinese drywall problem began during the housing boom that occurred earlier this decade when construction companies scrambled to import the necessary drywall to keep pace with the new construction demand. Florida has been “ground zero” for Chinese drywall complaints but homeowners in other states such as Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi have also experienced problems with the tainted Chinese drywall.
Builders have been implicated as well in the Chinese drywall scandal including Lennar Corp., Taylor Morrison and WCI Communities, and Beazer Homes. The scandal has touched the world of politics as well. Florida’s Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp moved his family out of their house built by Aubuchon Homes. Aubuchon Homes is owned by Gary Aubuchon, a Cape Coral Republican who has now been sued by Kottkamp, a fellow Republican, over the contaminated Chinese drywall. In Florida alone, there have been more than 600 Chinese drywall complaints filed with the state’s Department of Health.
The Chinese drywall problem has not only received the attention of individual states. The federal government is involved in the Chinese drywall investigation as well. The Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency are actively engaged in separate investigations. US Senator Bill Nelson has put increasing pressure on federal agencies to determine the source of the problem as well as come to the aid of thousands of Chinese drywall homeowners affected by the contaminated drywall.
The contaminated Chinese drywall corrodes electrical appliances within the home and emits a foul, sulfur odor. Presently, it’s not known if there are significant health consequences associated with living in a home contaminated by the Chinese drywall. While some builders have offered to remediate homes affected by the Chinese drywall, there is no established or accepted protocol for remediating contaminated homes. Therefore, it’s not recommended that homeowners accept these offers of remediation from builders.
Besides the potential for as yet to be determined health-related issues, property values of those home contaminated with Chinese drywall have plummeted dramatically. This drop in home values coupled with the fact that some property insurers have warned homeowners that their property insurance will be discontinued if they don’t accept remediation, has caused a severe and untenable burden on Chinese drywall homeowners.
Now that one of the major defendants in the Chinese drywall class action lawsuit has agreed to be sued in the United States, homeowners need to be vigilant and make sure they hire a Chinese drywall attorney immediately. The deadline for joining the Chinese drywall class action lawsuit is December 9, 2009. However, affected Chinese drywall homeowners should contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that their legal rights are protected.