South Florida Homeowners Reach Settlement in Defective Chinese Drywall Suits

The multinational manufacturing company that allegedly provided defective drywall for use in homes throughout South Florida has agreed to an $800 million settlement in a global class action by home owners alleging that the drywall has caused physical damage to their homes and emits toxic sulfur gases causing residents a variety of physical respiratory problems.

Earlier this year, we told you about a number of lawsuits filed against Chinese drywall manufacturers Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co. and Banner Supply Co., the South Florida company that imports the product, for wide spread damages the allegedly defective drywall has caused to homes throughout the region. On December 15, a U.S. District Judge in New Orleans announced that Knauf had agreed to settle claims by more than 5,000 plaintiffs in federal and state actions.

“The settlement attempts to address a catastrophe that ruined homes and companies that came to light in South Florida in late 2008,” South Florida Business Journal’s Paul Brinkmann reports. “The drywall arrived in U.S. ports as a way to replace a shortage of domestic drywall during the building boom and hurricane reconstruction efforts of 2005 and 2006.” Soon thereafter, home owners in Florida and other parts of the country noticed that the drywall was crumbling and that it emitted a foul odor.

In June, Banner reached an almost $55 million dollar settlement of roughly 2,000 claims stemming from its role in importing the drywall. But the Miami company’s litigation bills may continue to pile up: In October, a local woman filed an action in Dade Circuit Court alleging that Banner continued to distribute toxic drywall despite knowing that the product was defective and even conspired with Knauf to keep the information under wraps.

Ft. Lauderdale contractor Moss & Associates has been hired to carry out Knauf’s remediation program through which the defective drywall will be removed and replaced from effected homes. Plaintiffs in the Knauf settlement can choose to have Moss or another contractor to perform the work, or instead take a “cash out” for slightly less than the cost of the removal and replacement.

The drywall snafu is an unfortunate example of the havoc that defective products can wreak. A defective product can be anything a consumer purchases that is not safe for its intended use. In addition to drywall, some common defective products include unsafe automobile parts, medications, children’s toys and child safety seats.

A consumer must show three things in order to assert a successful defective product claim. First, the consumer must show that the product had an unreasonably dangerous defect that caused an injury. Second, the defect must have caused the consumer’s injury while he or she was using the product in the way it was intended to be used. Third, the consumer must show that the product was not substantially changed from the condition in which it was originally sold.

The South Florida personal injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine work hard to provide vigorous representation for clients throughout the area, including in Ft. Lauderdale, Hialeah and Pompano Beach. If you were injured by a defective product, call Anidjar & Levine’s Fort Lauderdale office today at 800-747-3733 for a free consultation with an experienced defective products lawyer.

Related blog posts:

South Florida Homeowners Sue Chinese Drywall Makers and Distributors for Personal Injury, Other Damages

Defective Product Recalls and Florida Personal Injury Law

Florida Senate Votes to Limit Defective Product Lawsuits Brought Under the Crashworthiness Doctrine