June 1, 2010

Miami Judge Certifies Chinese Drywall Class Action

Last week, a Miami judge ruled that a lawsuit filed on behalf of homeowners in the wake of the Chinese drywall disaster can proceed as a class action. The case, currently involving 152 homes in Miami-Dade County, Florida, marks the first state class action approved in the country. Under the judge’s ruling, homeowners in Miami-Dade County can choose whether or not they want to be a part of the lawsuit.

In the suit, homeowners in three subdivisions, which were built in 2005 and 2006, are suing the builder, developer, installer and supplier of the defective Chinese drywall. The trial is expected to begin later this year, unless a settlement is reached before then.

To date, there have been roughly 6,000 similar cases filed in a number of states throughout the country, some of which are individual settlements which have already been approved.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 21, 2010

Judge Rules in Favor of Homeowners in Chinese Drywall Case

U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon in the first "bellwether" trial in the Multidistrict Litigation proceedings for homes containing Chinese drywall ruled that the defective drywall attacks and severely damages copper and silver components of homes where the drywall is installed. The ruling also states that in order to correct the problem, the drywall, wiring, plumbing, air conditioning equipment (including ductwork), and interior finish components such as trim, flooring, cabinetry, and carpeting must be removed and replaced. In homes where Chinese drywall is mixed with non-corrosive U.S.-made drywall, the judge ruled, all drywall from whatever source must be stripped, and all wiring, plumbing, and air conditioning systems throughout the house must be replaced.

The ruling came from the case, Germano, et al. v. Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., et al., which pits seven Virginia homeowners against the Chinese government-owned manufacturer Taishan Gypsum. In the published ruling, the judge walks through a point-by-point description of the damage the drywall has caused and explains why the only appropriate remedy is to completely remove and replace the affected building materials. The court rejected all suggestions by drywall manufacturer Knauf Tianjin, appearing on behalf of the absent Taishan Gypsum, that the problem might be solved by removing only certain pieces of drywall or by cleaning copper components rather than replacing them.

You can read the judge’s filing online here.

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April 8, 2010

Louisiana Judge States Policy Exclusions Used to Deny Chinese Drywall Insurance Clams Don’t Apply

Lloyd Medley, chief judge of Orleans Parish Civil District Court, stated that the policy exclusions that insurers have commonly been using to deny claims for drywall damage don't apply. Medley told Audubon Insurance Co. that the three items in its policy that the company had used to deny the homeowners insurance claim that New Orleans residents Simon and Rebecca Finger had made did not apply. The ruling is good news for any Louisiana homeowner whose house was constructed with defective Chinese drywall.

You can read more on this story online here.

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March 10, 2010

Update on Chinese drywall Remediation Trial in New Orleans

U.S. District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon is expected to issue a detailed ruling shortly, laying out the scope of remediation he thinks is necessary. However, during the trial, two key points were brought to everyone’s attention which presents a problem for the region's largest affected builder, Lennar:

- the damage to insulated electrical wiring, and
- the apparent ineffectiveness of vacuuming alone to remove residual drywall particles

Lennar started remediating homes last year, stating that it knew what needed to be fixed and how they will go about fixing the problem. Initially, Lennar stated that insulated wiring within the walls of the homes were not affected, and therefore, it could snip off the exposed ends of copper wires and could use the rest. However, recent findings conclude that its not that simple.

During the trial, scientists presented several cases in which insulated wiring had been damaged in homes. Lennar appears to have reached the same conclusion sometime last year, as its protocol has changed, and they now remove all affected wiring in homes.

Though the change to the remediation process has been made for the future, but what about the early homes where the remaining wiring was left behind? That is something we will have to keep an eye out for in the future.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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February 17, 2010

Federal Agencies Set Criteria for Chinese Drywall Diagnosis

Federal agencies recently released a new set of criteria to help members and inspectors determine whether recent renovations or construction definitively has defective Chinese drywall. Calling it a "preliminary" protocol, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) outlined standards for homes built from 2001-2008, for the first time acknowledging a wider range of possible homes may be affected than the earlier estimates of 2004-2007.

The guidance takes into account visual signs of metal corrosion, evidence of drywall installation in the relevant time period, and the identification of other corroborating evidence or characteristics.

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November 30, 2009

Corrosion Linked To Chinese Drywall

A recent article on CBS reports that the federal government has found a "strong association" between defective Chinese drywall and corrosion of pipes and wires in homes where the drywall has been found. This confirmation supports complaints made by thousands of homeowners throughout the United States over the last year.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, along with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continues to study the potential health effects, and the long-term implications of the corrosion.

You can read more on this article and the CPSC’s next steps online here.

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November 4, 2009

Chinese Drywall Manufacturer Offers to Streamline Lawsuits in Federal Court

An article online this week states that Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd., one of the leading defendants in a consolidated federal court lawsuit against drywall manufacturers in China, offered homeowners who sign up for he omnibus class action by December 2, 2009 and show proof that their homes were built with KPT drywall won't have to pay $15,000 to serve the company in China through the Hague Convention, according to an order issued Monday by United States District Court Judge Eldon Fallon. This offer will speed up the proceedings, reduce costs and aid in the consolidation of the disputes in federal court.

You can read more on this story online here.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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October 28, 2009

Chinese Drywall Update: Tenebaum Brings Little Relief To US After Trip to China

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal details the ongoing frustrations of US homeowners who have been affected by the defective Chinese drywall epidemic. Homeowners were hopeful that Inez Tenebaum, Chair of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, would bring relief back to the US after a recent visit to China.

Prior to the trip, Tenenbaum said she would speak to Chinese officials in an effort to gauge their willingness to help pay for the estimated $15-$25 billion dollars in damages. Though US homeowners were hopeful prior to the meeting, Tenebaum’s response to questions at a press conference in Beijing on Monday were not as hopeful, stating that she will only ask the suppliers of Chinese drywall to “do what is fair and just.”

You can read the full article online here.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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October 16, 2009

Insurance Companies Deny Claims, Drop Policies

I found an article on line this week which reports that in the wake of the defective Chinese drywall epidemic, insurance Companies have started to deny claims, and even worse, refusing to renew entire policies. Thousands of homeowners nationwide have been affected by the defective building materials are now finding little assistance. Experts warn that cases in which insurers drop policies or send notices of non-renewal based on the presence of the Chinese drywall, will become rampant as insurance companies process the hundreds of claims currently in the pipeline.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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September 15, 2009

Chinese Drywall: The Next EIFS?

Though the final number has yet to be determined, recent reports state that the total cost of damages from Chinese drywall could reach $25 billion. Most reports place the final number somewhere between $15 and $25 billion, while others state that after repairs and litigation costs, the $25 billion mark could be surpassed.

What’s also unclear is the percentage of this final number that will be covered from property and casualty insurance. This means builders, suppliers and manufacturers of the defective drywall should prepare for numerous lawsuits in the near future from homeowners facing thousands of dollars in damages and repair costs.

I found an article online recently which details the estimated costs associated with the Chinese drywall problem, and those who are most likely to be affected by the current litigation. You can read the full article here.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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September 4, 2009

Chinese Drywall Found in Las Vegas

A recent report states that the Chinese drywall problem has moved west. Homeowners in Las Vegas, Nevada have found instances of Chinese drywall in their homes, and have filed a class action lawsuit. The suit states that the drywall is causing health problems for homeowners in two Las Vegas neighborhoods.

The suit was filed on behalf of four homeowners, and seeks class action status for all residents of the state who are suffering from health problems due to the defective drywall. The suit names subsidiaries of the Miami-based home builder, Lennar Corp., and drywall manufacturers, Georgia-Pacific Corp. of Atlanta, Georgia as defendants. Though the drywall epidemic has ravaged the east coast, reports of the drywall reaching as far west as Las Vegas will certainly cause speculation of a national drywall epidemic and will surely lead to homeowners in every state looking into whether or not their homes were constructed with Chinese drywall.

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September 1, 2009

Tax Rebate for Homeowners With Chinese Drywall

Those who have found that their homes were constructed or remodeled with defective drywall imported from China, relief may be on the way. But it may not be as easy to get as some may think. Though State and Federal government officials have been working to determine how to distribute a tax rebate to those homeowners affected by the Chinese drywall epidemic, it is not an open and shut case for those who want to receive funds.

Officials are urging homeowners to keep meticulous records of any expenses incurred due to the drywall problems – such as medical bills, home renovation costs, and in some situations, relocation expenses. Tax refunds will be easier to distribute to those who have a clear outline of the financial burden this has placed on them. Also, obtaining assistance from an attorney may help expedite the situation when handling any sort of settlement or claim that may be made once the government has decided who is eligible to receive the refunds.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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August 26, 2009

Consumer Products Safety Commission States Chinese Drywall is Not Radioactive

After conducting tests on 21 samples of Chinese drywall, the Consumer Products Safety Commission reported that there was no presence of radioactive phosphogypsum in the drywall samples. Earlier this year reports claimed that the defective drywall imported from China was made with phosphogypsum, which contains radioactive properties.

According to a statement from the CPSC, federal and state technical teams of scientists from the CPSC, Environmental Protection Agency, the Florida Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, and Virginia Department of Health has concluded that the samples had no elevated levels of radioactivity.

While this may serve as relief to those homeowners living with Chinese drywall, there are still several problems facing those homeowners. Residents in 24 states have filed a total of 1046 Chinese drywall complaints with the CPSC. The Florida health department is expected to release additional test results later this year which could offer more information as to the potential health hazards posed by the drywall.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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August 24, 2009

New Testing Methods Being Used to Check for Chinese Drywall

Centek Laboratories, LLC has been in conversations with the Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and North Carolina State Health Departments to discuss the laboratory’s ability to provide testing options for residents who believe their homes were built with defective Chinese drywall. Centek believes they have developed user friendly sampling equipment which will be used to analyze compounds in the air of the suspected homes which are culprits for material deterioration, odors, and illness. The United States Product Safety Commission and United States Environmental Protection Agency are also conducting studies.

Centek uses Whole Air Sampling By Method TO-15 to monitor the areas believed to have been built with the defective Chinese drywall. Centek also has the capability to conduct headspace testing. In a headspace test, a sample of the drywall is placed in an air tight headspace chamber, which is then purged, extracting a sample of what gasses are being emitted from the product.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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August 19, 2009

Chinese Drywall Victims Form Group, Target White House for Help

Last week, Port St. Lucie homeowner, Tirzah Pestenski, called the White House and invited Presidnet Obama over so he could witness firsthand the devastating effects defective Chinese drywall has had on her home. Pestenski is part of a small group of homeowners who have begun making calls to the White House asking for assistance to the growing Chinese drywall epidemic. Pestenski and the other members of her group, are frustrated by the lack of assistance they have received from the government in response to the national drywall problem.

Last week, United States Senator Bill Nelson, sent a letter to the White House requesting the President to "create a 'one-stop' federal Drywall Assistance Center" that homeowners can go to for information and resources regarding the defective drywall.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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August 17, 2009

New Bill Focused on Chinese Drywall Manufactures Enters Senate

A new Bill introduced recently into the senate could make it easier for homeowners with defective Chinese drywall to take the manufacturer to court. The Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act of 2009 attempts to make it easier to bring foreign companies before an American court. Currently, laws contain so many loopholes that foreign manufacturers of defective materials are rarely penalized by the legal system.

The new bill would require foreign manufacturers to retain a business representative in at least one state where it does significant business and who could be served with a lawsuit. While this new bill would help homeowners who are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs after defective drywall imported from China caused thousands of homes to be deemed dangerous, the bill would also assist others in opening up new avenues of recourse for other defective products which were imported into the US.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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August 10, 2009

Consumer Product Safety Commission Creates Drywall Information Website

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently set up a website to keep consumers, drywall manufacturers, builders and others aware of its investigation into the latest problematic Chinese drywall. The CPSC's Drywall Information Center offers updates on the investigation, help for homeowners trying to determine if their drywall is making them sick, where drywall problems have been reported and other related information.

According to the CPSC Drywall Information Center, Chinese drywall complaints to the CPSC have surpassed 800, n at least 23 states since last December. Of those roughly 800 complaints, 621 have come from Florida alone. The state with the second highest count is Louisiana at 105. Other reports have come from residents in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

For additional information from the CPSC, visit the Drywall Information center online here.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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August 7, 2009

WCI Communities Announces 200 Homes Built With Defective Chinese Drywall

WCI Communities, based in Bonita Springs, Florida, has confirmed that they built at least 200 homes with the potentially dangerous defective Chinese drywall. WCI Communities recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and anticipates facing roughly $40 million in claims related to the defective drywall. WCI has agreed to set up a trust to help homeowners affected by Chinese drywall as part of their reorganization plan.

WCI Communities’ announcement comes shortly after Lennar confirmed that they built about 400 homes in Florida with the allegedly defective drywall earlier this month. Homes built by Lennar which contain the defective Chinese drywall have seen extensive damage to electrical components in their homes caused by sulfurous gases emitted from the drywall. Homeowners have also complained of health problems as a result of the drywall, including headaches and respiratory problems.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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August 5, 2009

Consumer Product Safety Commission Head Visits Asia to Discuss Tighter Regulations

Inez Tenenbaum, head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), left last week on a trip to Asia which will focus on notifying and warning major exporters that tough regulations will be coming soon. These warnings come in the wake of thousands of American homes constructed with defective Chinese drywall being deemed dangerous to homeowners. Tenenbaum will spend nine days in Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam and will address foreign leaders in Singapore for the annual summit of APEC (a trade group that coordinates commercial ties among the U.S., Canada, Russia and 18 Asian countries). Tenenbaum plans to discuss how the CPSC is aggressively enforcing consumer safety measures after years of funding cuts, staff reductions and commission vacancies under former President George W. Bush.

The government’s recent initiative to tighten up regulations against imported goods is a very positive thing, as some very dangerous products have made their way into the US over the past several years.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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August 3, 2009

Status of Multidistrict Litigation Involving Chinese Drywall Cases

Judge Eldon E. Fallon, who is overseeing the combined litigation of defective Chinese Drywall cases in New Orleans, has advised attorneys that trials could start as soon as six months from now. The court is also scheduled to set agreed-upon guidelines for inspecting the affected homes.

On June 15, 2009 the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued its ruling to send the cases to the Eastern District of Louisiana. Earlier this month, Fallon's court held its first "status conference" with dozens of attorneys on both sides of the drywall debate. The judge said he intended to start what are known as "bellwether trials" in as little as six months. According to the status conference, Fallon plans "to allow each side to select ten cases initially" to begin discovery -- the process of turning over documents and other information. After that, each side will choose five of those cases to go to trial.

Fallon indicated that the initial trials would likely involve claims related to property damage alone, which the court believed could be resolved more quickly. Cases involving personal injury would were not anticipated to begin for about a year. The next status conference is scheduled for August 11, 2009 and will be held in New Orleans.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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July 29, 2009

Consumer Product Safety Commission Urges Congress for Assitance with Chinese Drywall Crisis

Last week, after increased scrutiny surrounding the Chinese drywall crisis, the Consumer Product Safety Commission sent a letter to select members of Congress outlining their process for investigating the source, severity and pervasiveness of the defective Chinese drywall problem. The letter offers background information on the crisis, the current federal coordination in place, the progress of the investigation so far, a discussion on the health problems associated with the Chinese drywall and an overview of the tests which have been conducted thus far.

You can read the full letter online here. (PDF)

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July 24, 2009

Virginia Residents Affected by Chinese Drywall May Qualify for Tax Deduction

Virginia homeowners affected by the defective Chinese drywall crisis may qualify for special tax deductions. According to Virginia Senator, Jim Webb, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has declared residents in the Hampton Roads area whose homes have been severely damaged by Chinese Drywall able to qualify for the special tax deductions. Qualifying taxpayers may be eligible to claim tens of thousands of dollars on their tax returns for the damage Chinese drywall has caused them.

Senator Webb's office states that the drywall has been linked to health problems for homeowners and their families. Some homeowners have been forced to relocate and pay for a new home in addition to the mortgage on their tainted house. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), most Chinese drywall cases have been found in Virginia, Florida and Louisiana. The CSPC also revealed new concerns that drywall fumes not only corrode air conditioning coils, but other appliances in homes such as refrigerators and stoves.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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July 21, 2009

American Association for Justice Releases Time Line of Chinese Drywall Crisis

The American Association for Justice has released a time line of key events in the Chinese drywall crisis. The time line begins with the major hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, including Hurricane Katrina, coupled with a nationwide housing boom which spurred a demand for drywall. The time line navigates the last four years of the Chinese drywall crisis and the developments which have taken place. The time line also provides a future update for September 2009, which is when a Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge scheduled a September 14, 2009 hearing to determine if a class action can be certified for homeowners with Chinese drywall in the Keys Gate subdivision in Homestead, Florida.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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July 15, 2009

Radioactive Chinese Drywall In U.S. Homes

I recently read an interesting article on The Consumerist discussing the recent defective Chinese drywall problem in the United States. According to the Consumerist, the US government believes that radioactive industrial waste from China is responsible for the recent sulfur stench associated with defective drywall imported from China in hundreds of Florida homes. Federal regulators believe the drywall contained phosphogypsum, a banned waste byproduct that commonly used in Chinese construction. When used in drywall, the probable carcinogen can corrode air conditioners, mirrors, electrical outlets and even jewelry, and has been linked to reports of health problems for homeowners.

The Consumerist states, "Considering the fact that phosphogypsum can cause corrosion, something should be done," said Ding Dawu, a geoscientist and an authority on gypsum processing in China. "Right now," he added, "there are no complaints [in China] because most people don't know much about gypsum board and there are no standards against it."

You can read the full article online here.

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July 7, 2009

Chinese Drywall Found in Bahamas

The Chinese drywall problem affecting United States homeowners has been reported in the Bahamas. After thousands of homes were condemned in the U.S., Stephen Wrinkle, President of the Bahamian Contractor Association, is calling for inspections of the materials which are slated to be used in the construction of the Bahamian national stadium. Chinese drywall has been found in Bahamian homes and now the concern is focused on whether or not the materials, which are scheduled to be used in the construction of the national stadium, are defective. Wrinkle is also calling for stricter guidelines which will regulate the importing of materials from outside countries in an effort to eliminate any potential dangers stemming from a lack of safety regulation.

Wrinkle's suggestion has gained support from Achal Moorjani, the Barbadian Contractor's Association head. Moorjani believes planning and regulation should be the foremost concern, even if it means delaying the construction or changing the design of the stadium.

Bahamian builders usually import drywall from the United States. However, due to the drywall shortage in America a few years ago after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Bahamian contractors received defective Chinese drywall. Currently, a U.S. attorney is forming a class action suit against the Chinese manufacturer of the drywall and states that there is a $200 million Bahamian development project which has been affected. Many of the units in the development have already been sold and now buyers are looking for a way out of the deal.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 30, 2009

Chinese Regulators Meet with Consumer Products & Safety Commission to Discuss Chinese Drywall Problem

As of last week, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) stated that they had received more than 500 reports from homeowners in 19 states and the District of Columbia who believe their home was constructed with defective Chinese drywall. Due to the increasing number of US homeowners affected by the defective building product, officials from China’s General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (ASIQ) office arrived in the US June 15, 2009 in order to investigate the reported problems with drywall made in their country.

According to recent reports, roughly 309 million square feet of drywall from China was imported into the United States during the housing boom from 2004 to 2007. To date, the defective drywall has been reported in Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Officials from the CPSC met with ASIQ regulators earlier this month to discuss technical issues involving Chinese drywall and traveled with a CPSC investigative team in order to observe inspections and samplings conducted by the CPSC in one home in Florida and two homes in Louisiana.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 29, 2009

Overview of Chinese Drywall Problem in the United States

I recently found an article online entitled, US senators call for Chinese drywall probe. This article is one of the best articles I’ve found recently discussing the Chinese drywall problem. The article includes an overview of the problem, an explanation of what Chinese drywall is and why it is causing so many problems for United States homeowners, and the status of pending litigation claims in the US. The article also includes a discussion on the manufacturers responsible for producing the defective drywall, the steps several US Senators have taken over the past several months in order to not only correct the problem, but prevent it from happening again in the future and a discussion on the estimated cost to repair the homes damaged by the Chinese drywall.

I urge everyone who is not familiar with the current status of the Chinese Drywall problem to read the article. You can read the full article online here.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 23, 2009

U.S. Senators Ask IRS to Make Chinese Drywall Repairs Tax Deductible

Three United States Senators from Florida and Virginia have appealed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requesting that the costs incurred to homeowners affected by Chinese Drywall be deductible for federal tax purposes. In a letter sent Tuesday June 16, 2009, the Senators ask the IRS to include Chinese Drywall in the list of “unexpected events” which are currently listed as deductible under section 165(h) of the tax code. Fire, storms and theft are currently included in the list of the IRS’ unexpected events.

The Senators argue that homeowners are facing thousands of dollars in repairs, and most families cannot cover the costs associated with the repairs as well as the cost of staying elsewhere while their home is being fixed. The Senators also request that inspections go beyond that of individual homes and include tests to determine what materials were used in commercial and public buildings.

Chinese drywall has been found in several condominiums and was recently discovered in a new hotel still under construction in Chesapeake, Virginia. Additionally, it has been suspected to have been used in the construction of a Tampa day care center built just this year.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 22, 2009

Florida Attorney General Warns Homeowners of Chinese Drywall Scams

Florida Attorney General, Bill McCollum, issued a consumer advisory warning to homeowners in Florida who have been affected by Chinese Drywall alerting them of scams related to the defective drywall situation. The Attorney General’s office has received two reports of scams related to the Chinese drywall problem. The first includes bogus tests being conducted in order to determine the presence of Chinese drywall in the homes, and the second includes a company claiming to have a remedy for the corroded pipes and coils in the homes.

The Attorney General noted that a homeowner can determine if defective drywall is present in his or her home by asking the homebuilder or a qualified air conditioner technician to conduct a professional visual inspection. The Attorney General warns that the presence of defective imported drywall cannot be determined by “testing” the air in the home, and if the substance is found during a visual inspection, it cannot be remedied with a spray or an ozone generator. Reports have also found that these bogus remedies may make the problem worse.

According to the Florida Department of Health, homeowners should be aware the following scams which builders have reported to the Attorney General’s Office:

- Sale of bogus test kits. These can be expensive, often costing thousands of dollars, and are generally ineffective. The presence of defective imported drywall can only be determined through visual inspection.

- Solicited home inspections costing thousands of dollars by “experts” with no apparent qualification. Homeowners should beware of cold calls and door-to-door solicitors.

- Sale of sprays and applications which allegedly claim to miraculously cure the corrosion problem. Not only are these products ineffective, the addition of moisture may accelerate the corrosion problem.

- Sale of ozone generators. Ozone will actually increase the chemical reaction between the drywall and copper and the corrosion will be accelerated.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 17, 2009

Nominee for Head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Faces Chinese Drywall Questioning

Inez M. Tenenbaum, President Obama’s nominee for head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, faced questions yesterday regarding the nationwide concern over defective Chinese drywall during her U.S. Senate confirmation hearing. Tenenbaum appeared before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and although she made no references as to the specific steps she would take to remedy the problem, she did promise that if she was selected to head the Commission, she would work tirelessly to find a resolution to the Chinese drywall issue.

Tenebaum’s plans include meeting with scientists and organizing a briefing during her first week on the job which would be aimed at putting together a specific schedule for when new drywall testing and conclusions were to be reached.

Tenebaum could potentially receive a final confirmation vote by the Senate before the July 4th recess. However, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) informed the committee that any written questions for Tenenbaum were to be submitted by the end of the day, which indicates that a final decision could be made sooner, rather than later.

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June 16, 2009

Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation Sends Chinese Drywall Cases To New Orleans For Pre-Trial Work

Yesterday, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred 10 Chinese drywall cases to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for coordinated pretrial proceedings. The JPML said it would treat dozens of additional cases as potential ad-ons. The ruling came roughly three weeks after the panel initially reviewed the matter at its May hearing session, in which it considered the possibility of consolidating four actions in the Southern District of Florida, three actions in the Middle District of Florida and one action each in the Northern District of Florida, the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Southern District of Ohio.

The panel found that the 10 claims include specific similar facts, which all occurred in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Grouping the cases will assist in the elimination of duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings and conserve the resources of the parties and the judiciary.

The panel assigned the cases to Judge Eldon E. Fallon, who it said “has extensive experience in multidistrict litigation as well as the ability and temperament to steer this complex litigation on a steady and expeditious course.”

You can view the Transfer Order online here.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 10, 2009

New Tests Conducted in Florida to Determine Which Chemicals Are Used in Chinese Drywall

Last Thursday the Florida Department of Health completed another round of drywall testing aimed at determining which chemicals in Chinese drywall are responsible for emitting the sulfur gases. Earlier tests conducted on Florida homes this past March found hydrogen sulfide, carbon disulfide and carbonyl sulfide coming from several Chinese drywall samples taken from the homes.

The new tests used a method called High Performance Liquid Chromatography. The test isolated particles in the drywall which researchers believe are responsible for releasing the gases. The drywall samples being studied are from the same samples of drywall which were collected for the previous round of testing.

The Florida Health Department hopes that these new tests will help to identify which chemicals in the drywall are responsible for the gas emission. Some findings have already been internally compiled but that report will not be released for another few weeks.

The next step for both state and federal authorities is to conduct air quality tests, though this form of testing has previously proven to be very difficult. The difficulty lies in fact that method for taking air samples from homes containing Chinese drywall has been called into question. Some believe previous tests used an unreliable method of transporting the air samples from the affected homes to the lab.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 9, 2009

Louisiana Senator Proposes Chinese Drywall Bill Allowing Homeowners to Collect From Drywall Manufacturers, Distributors and Suppliers

Louisiana Senator, Julie Quinn, has introduced a bill which would allow homeowners in Louisiana to sue manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers for damages incurred by the defective Chinese Drywall used to build their homes. Senator Quinn’s proposed legislation would allow Louisiana residents to collect 100% of the damages they have incurred due to the defective drywall, in addition to attorneys fees, from the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the contaminated drywall. Current legislation only allows homeowners to collect a percentage of the damages from the manufacturer, distributor, or seller.

While homeowners affected by the defective drywall are obviously in favor of the proposed legislation, some local business owners are not. Though they understand the devastating effects the drywall has had on homeowners, if the bill is passed, local business owners who were unaware of the effects could be put out of business and forced into bankruptcy within in a matter of days after the bill is passed.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 8, 2009

Possible Solution to Remedy Effects of Chinese Drywall Being Tested in Florida

A duplex in Fort Myers, Florida underwent tests last Friday to see if pumping chlorine dioxide into homes containing Chinese drywall will reverse the effects of the gasses emitted by the defective drywall. The theory behind the test is that bacteria in the paper of Chinese drywall react with the gypsum core to emit a sulfuric gas which is responsible for corroding air-conditioning coils and other metals in homes. This reaction is believed to be the cause for the smell and so by pumping chlorine dioxide into the homes, it should remedy the problem. The tests were performed Friday June 5, 2009 and results should be available in about a month.

However, scientists, builders, lawyers and homeowners are wondering if the possible solution will actually solve the problem. Though the potential solution would save billions of dollars nationwide by eliminating the need to remove the defective drywall and rebuild thousands of homes, some are questioning if this is just a temporary fix, and wonder if more damage will still occur down the line.

We will be sure to keep a watchful eye on this possible solution and report on any and all updates we find.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 4, 2009

Are US Companies Selling Contaminated Chinese Manufactured Drywall Under Their Name?

At the Chinese Drywall conference I am attending in Florida, Daniel Becnel Jr. an attorney from Louisiana is presenting information on the potential health effects of prolonged exposure to Chinese Drywall.

In his experience working with affected homeowners, some common medical complaints include nose bleeding, headaches, nausea, sinus and/or allergy related issues, difficulty breathing and chemical coughs.

What I found most interesting is a conversation that his experts have had with Jorge Laguna from the Florida Department of Health. Mr. Laguna theorizes that the Chinese Drywall problem may be related to the presence of a high sulfide mineral vein at the mine which produces the raw material that was used to create the drywall. He also noted that some U.S. drywall manufacturers appear to be purchasing the Chinese material and restamping it with U.S. manufacturer nameplates.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 4, 2009

Plaintiff’s Legal Theories Concerning Chinese Drywall Claims

The pending Chinese Drywall cases that have been filed are mostly class actions in Federal court. There are currently 70 + cases pending nationally. The damage claims most commonly sought in these actions are property, personal injury and medical monitoring. Since the Chinese Drywall problem is such a new phenomenon it will be years before the full medical effects of prolonged exposure to Chinese drywall will be known. Zdenek Hejzlar Ph.D., CSP, of Engineering Systems Inc. presented The Science of Drywall at today’s conference and is currently conducting controlled scientific experiments to develop a baseline of the issues that exposure to Chinese drywall can cause. You can contact him here if you are interested in receiving a copy of his soon to be released peer reviewed white paper on the Chinese Drywall problem.

The current causes of actions in the cases are negligence, strict liability for defective products, implied and express warranties, breach of contract, state specific consumer protection acts, fraudulent concealment/misrepresentation, private nuisance.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 4, 2009

Timeline of Chinese Drywall

2006 - 2007


Homeowner complaints of "rotten egg" smell

November 2006


CTEH (Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health) air sampling report prepared for Knauf

June 2008


Florida Department of Health receives its first call of sulfur odors in homes

August 2008

Inquires about sulfur odors and copper corrosion
EPA considers gypsum as possible source, but not viewed as widespread

September 2008

Environ investigates homes for Lennar

October 2008


Florida Department of Health hires state toxicologist (Dr. David Krause)

November 2008


Consumer Product Safety Commission contacted

December 2008

Media interest increases

January 2009

DOH receives Environ and Knauf reports
Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry offers assistance
DOH inspects and samples 12 homes
Knauf et al litigation filings

February 2009

FL state toxicologist presentation on drywall
FL DOH summary report

March 2009

Media briefing by DOH
Environ informs that sulfur is at 20x higher in Chinese Drywall

April 2009


FEMA gets involved
DOH surgeon general and state toxicologist tour homes with Representative Wexler and Senator Nelson
NIOSH asked to assess occupational health hazards during home remediation
Virginia homeowners begin to file lawsuits

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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June 4, 2009

Chinese Drywall - The Problem

I am in Florida at the first ever Chinese Drywall Litigation conference and will be live blogging the event. Scott Weinstein, managing partner of Morgan and Morgan (Ft. Meyers Florida) opened today’s seminar and provided a history of the Chinese drywall problem.

It is believed that the defective drywall was imported from china from 2004 – 2007. Homeowners in 41 states suspect they have Chinese drywall. Since 2006 more than 550 million pounds of drywall were imported from China which is enough to build tens of thousands of homes and Florida seems to be the epicenter of the problem since 60% of the imported drywall came in through Florida ports. 115,000 pounds of Chinese drywall entered into the United States through the Port of Miami alone. It is estimated that 36,000 homes in Florida were built with defective drywall.

According to Scott, in his experience working with homeowners who have a home constructed with Chinese drywall, any kind of metal that gets wet (copper pipes, air conditioning coils, etc.) will immediately begin to corrode. Scott was nice enough to bring with him a piece of Chinese drywall that has been removed from the home of one of his clients. The piece was passed around to the conference attendees and the smell of the sulfur was very noticeable. This one little piece of drywall smelled pretty bad – how bad is the smell of a home that is made entirely of this stuff?

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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May 21, 2009

Norfolk, Virginia Bans Use of Chinese Drywall

After a unanimous vote of 8-0 at this past Tuesday’s City Council meeting, it is now illegal to use Chinese drywall when building or renovating in Norfolk, Virginia. Contractors are now required to certify that they will not use Chinese drywall in any future construction projects. If contractors refuse to certify that they won’t use Chinese drywall, they will be denied the permits needed in order to proceed with construction.

The ban was initiated by Councilman W. Randy Wright, who believes that there is still Chinese drywall in the United States, which builders will be tempted to use in future projects. This is the first we’ve seen of a legislative ban on the use of Chinese drywall, however, I doubt it will be the last.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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May 20, 2009

EPA Tests Confirm: Chinese Drywall Contains Toxic Chemicals US Drywall Does Not

The Environmental Protection Agency released new information from recent tests conducted on the materials used in Chinese Drywall. The EPA reports that drywall produced in China contains sulfur, and two other organic compounds which are generally used in the production of acrylic paint. These materials are not used in the production of drywall made in the United States. The EPA also found that Chinese produced drywall contains 10-times the amount of strontium (a metallic element) than that of American made drywall.

While these tests help to understand what has caused the catastrophic disasters in more than 100,000 US homes, the EPA has said that more tests are needed. In future tests, the EPA plans on including air samples in homes which contain the Chinese drywall in order to determine whether the drywall is the cause of the corroded wiring and appliances, as well as the reported health problems, like many currently believe.

The first congressional hearings on Chinese drywall are set for tomorrow, Thursday May 21, 2009. The Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance will investigate health and product safety issues associated with the drywall. Experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the EPA, the Consumer Product and Safety Commission and homeowners who have been affected by the drywall are expected to testify as witnesses at the hearing.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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May 19, 2009

Chinese Drywall in Virginia

An article I recently found online discusses the battle a Virginia woman has fought after discovering the home she lived in for the past three years was built with defective Chinese drywall. Michelle Germano of Norfolk, Virginia has lost more than her home. In the past three years she has lost two tread mills, a television, a washer, a dryer and a refrigerator.

Now, Germano and her dog are also battling health problems which started roughly 10 months after moving into her home. She is currently taking 12 prescription medications to remedy her health problems, the most serious of which includes her mucous membranes being burned out by the drywall. The article goes on to report the financial problems Germano now has to face as she starts over at age 59. You can read more on Germano’s story online here.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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May 15, 2009

Stark & Stark Construction Litigation Group Chair to Present Chinese Drywall Seminar for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education

Stark & Stark Shareholder and Construction Litigation group Chair, Donald B. Brenner, will serve as the moderator and as a presenter at the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education's seminar, Tackling Construction Law Issues. The seminar will take place Wednesday, July 29, 2009 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The seminar will focus on the wide range of issues Construction Lawyers need to be aware of when representing clients, including public contracting, development, and insurance concerns to OSHA compliance, subcontracting and mediation issues.

Mr. Brenner will present a discussion on the recent Chinese drywall crisis occurring throughout the United State. Mr. Brenner will answer frequently asked questions relating to the defective drywall, including: What is it? What is the nature of the defect in Chinese Drywall? How does it damage property? What is the status of class actions involving Chinese drywall? What are the prospects for litigation in New Jersey relating to Chinese drywall?

John Randy Sawyer, Stark & Stark Construction Litigation group Shareholder, will also present a seminar as part of the Tackling Construction Law Issues seminar discussing the New Jersey Products Liability Act and the Economic Loss Rule, focusing on the very important recent Appellate Division decisions in Marrone v. Greer & Polman Construction and in Dean v. Barrett Homes.

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May 14, 2009

First Piece of Chinese Drywall Federal Legislation Passed in Congress

An amendment calling for an immediate investigation into the correlation between Chinese drywall and the national foreclosure rate has been passed. Earlier this month, the drywall-related provision was successfully offered as an amendment to the “Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act.” The provision was authored by Representatives Robert Wexler and Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida.

The legislation requires the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, in conjunction with the United States Treasury Department, to provide a report of the problem within the next 120 days. The report should detail how many foreclosures are a direct result of the defective drywall, which was imported from China between 2004 and 2007. The legislation also asks that federal agencies work to research if homeowners insurance was available to those homes which were affected by the Chinese drywall.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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May 13, 2009

United States Supreme Court Will Hold Hearing to Decide Whether or Not to Consolidate Chinese Drywall Lawsuits

On Wednesday, May 27, 2009 the United States Supreme Court will hold a hearing in Louisville, Kentucky in order to decide whether cases filed in federal court for those homeowners affected by defective Chinese Drywall across the country should be consolidated in one court with one judge. A panel of federal judges appointed by the United States Supreme Court will conduct the hearing.

Over 150 suits have been filed in Florida alone, representing 15,000 Florida homeowners who have damage and health problems as a result of the defective drywall. Hundreds of suits have been filed across the country, but attorneys who have filed cases on behalf of homeowners believe the cases will most likely be consolidated in New Orleans, Louisiana, Miami, Florida or Fort Myers, Florida.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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May 7, 2009

Florida Doctor Offers Updated Report and FAQs Focusing on Chinese Drywall

Dr. Gary Rosen, Ph.D., is a Florida licensed building contractor who specializes in property damage appraisals, expert testimony, and assessment & remediation of Chinese drywall. Dr. Rosen has compiled information after months of research which summarizes information acquired from several published reports and from his own personal investigations. The report offers information on how to identify if you have the Chinese drywall in your home, what health risks are associated with the defective drywall and what actions can be taken for those homeowners who have found the drywall in their homes.

You can read Dr. Rosen's full report here. (PDF)

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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May 4, 2009

North Carolina Couple Sues Over Defective Chinese Drywall

Mary and Daniel Flannigan, residents of Holly Springs, North Carolina, have spent the past few years trying to figure out what was causing the rotten egg smell in their home, and more importantly, what was causing their mysterious health problems. The Flannigan’s have joined with several other homeowners in filing a lawsuit against the builders, suppliers and manufactures of the defective Chinese drywall, which is responsible for the mysterious odor and health problems. The suit names Stafford Custom Homes of Southern Pines and states that Stafford should have been aware of the possibility of the harmful health problems and damages to the homes.

The Flannigans' case is the first legal action which has been taken in North Carolina involving Chinese drywall, but won't be the last. Countless complaints have been filed in Florida and other states against manufacturers and installers of the defective drywall. The lawsuit claims that the drywall imported from China emits a rotten-egg odor due to sulfur-based gases that cause health problems and corrodes metal fixtures and appliances in the homes.

In February, the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission launched an investigation of complaints about Chinese drywall, and dispatched toxicologists and electrical engineers to Florida in order to collect samples to determine the health and safety risks associated with the drywall. Millions of pounds of Chinese drywall have been imported into the U.S. and installed in homes in the past decade because it was inexpensive and readily available during the housing boom after hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. Members of Congress filed legislation last month asking the agency to move ahead with recalling and banning drywall manufactured in China.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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May 1, 2009

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Chinese Drywall

I recently found a fellow blogger who posed some interesting questions regarding the on-going developments related to Chinese drywall. Homeowners and condominium associations may be following the recently filed lawsuits alleging class action claims against the manufacturers and distributors of Chinese Drywall and wondering how this helps them get the defective material out of their homes? Assuming class certification is even possible (and that is a subject for another blog), it will take many years for the class actions to be adjudicated. It may be more practical and cost effective to just file individual lawsuits against the manufacturer and distributors of the Chinese Drywall for violation of product liability statutes and state consumer fraud statutes, and against builders and contractors for negligence and breach of express and implied warranties. There may be many other claims that can be asserted against these defendants depending upon the law of the state governing the litigation. Since the manufacturer of the product is a Chinese company owned by a German parent company, collectability from these entities is open to question. Builders and subcontractors typically have commercial general liability insurance that may well provide an easier, quicker and much less expensive means for counsel to obtain relief for innocent victims who are stuck with homes containing hazardous Chinese Drywall. Filing individual suits has many potential advantages over waiting for class action suits to be adjudicated.
 
The question of whether the class action will be certified is often an expensive and very protracted battle because the plaintiff in a class action has to satisfy many onerous requirements including showing that they are representative of the entire class damaged by Chinese Drywall. Proving "commonality" among class members and "typicality" of claims may be very difficult. The manufacturer and distributors may make many creative arguments to challenge class certification. Among those that come most readily to mind are that the homes in the purported class are: (1)  made of different materials which interface with the drywall differently; (2) designed by different architects using different design schemes; (3) located in different climates with different moisture conditions which affect the drywall and related materials differently; (4) were built using different subcontractors who installed the drywall and other building components in different ways in different homes; and (5) that there are other unrelated materials contributing to or serving as independent or intervening causes of the damages being attributed to the Chinese Drywall. The argument will be that these differences and many others prevent the plaintiffs in the class from satisfying the requirements for class certification. This battle will take years and will cost a fortune. Even if the battle is won, all that means is that the class is certified. The litigation of the liability and damages issues will then need to be fully litigated on the merits and tried if it cannot be settled.
 
The bottom line is that homeowners and condominium associations may want to consider why they should  bother with this when individual suits against insured defendants may be sufficient to get you what you really want--money to pay to fix your homes. You should seek counsel from a qualified, experienced construction litigation attorney before deciding the best way for you to handle your individual claims.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 30, 2009

What Causes the “Rotten Egg” Smell in Chinese Drywall?

The Florida Department of Health has stated that the main component in Chinese drywall which is responsible for producing the strong rotten egg smell in homes, is caused by strontium sulfide. Strontium sulfide can emit corrosive gases when in the presence of heat and humidity. When the strontium sulfide in the Chinese Drywall combines with heat and moist air, hydrogen sulfide forms and releases a strong rotten egg smell.

The Chinese Drywall is responsible for emitting the gas which gives off the sulfur smell, and has also been known for corroding the copper coils in air conditioner units. Hydrogen Sulfide is corrosive and has also been found to cause health problems for the residents of homes which were built with the defective drywall. These health problems consist of irritation to the eyes, nose or throat, and breathing problems.

A private laboratory, Unified Engineering Inc. of Illinois, was commissioned by The Florida Department of Health to test the Chinese Drywall. Unified found traces of two other volatile sulfur containing gases which are emitted from the drywall when it is exposed to moist air. One of the gases found by Unified was carbon disulfide, a gas which has been found to result in headaches, tiredness and trouble sleeping for people who are exposed to the gas in low levels for an extended period of time.

Another concern residents need to be aware of is the possibility of the corrosive gasses being absorbed and re-emitted by other surfaces in the homes. Based on preliminary reports from homeowners who have the defective drywall, it is possible for other materials, such as fabrics, to absorb the gasses. It is not yet certain as to whether or not other building materials, such as concrete and lumber, can absorb the gasses.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 28, 2009

Demand, Not Money, Prompted Chinese Drywall Imports

While most people seem to believe money was the motivating factor as to why homes in the United States were built with defective drywall imported from China, it is not. It was simply an issue of demand. Due to the increased demand for building supplies during the housing boom in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, builders, contractors and developers imported drywall from China in order to rebuild American homes. Over the past three years alone, 550 million pounds of drywall were imported from China into the United States. Since then, over 100,000 homeowners have found defects in the drywall used to build their homes.

In December 2008 inspectors began investigating claims of a rotten egg smell in homes which were built with the imported drywall. The smell was only the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the smell of rotten eggs, the drywall has also been responsible for turning the coils of air conditioning units black within a year of the home having been built. Copper wiring, copper plumbing and even copper coins in the homes were turning black. These cases were only found in houses with drywall imported from China. Of the homes which were initially investigated, a 'China' or 'Knauf' stamp were found on the drywall which indicated a link between the drywall and the defects.

This past March, Florida's Attorney General launched a criminal investigation into Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin LTD., which is a subsidiary of German-based Knauf, in order to determine whether the companies committed any deceptive sales or marketing practices.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 24, 2009

Florida Senator Urges Governor to Create Chinese Drywall Task Force

In addition to Florida Congressman, Robert Wexler, introducing legislation establishing an immediate study and federal ban on dangerous Chinese drywall, Florida Senator Dave Aronberg is now asking Governor Crist to create a Chinese Drywall Task Force. The Task Force would consist of scientists, builders, contractors, health experts, and consumer advocates who would work to make recommendations for removing and replacing the defective drywall. The Task Force would also be responsible for determining what regulations would need to be put in place for the future so that similar instances such as these do not occur again.

Though the Task Force has not yet officially been created, representatives from Governor Crist's office have said that the Governor and his staff have reached out to the Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and the Consumer Product Safety Commission for assistance. Senator Aronberg is hoping to put the task force together within the next couple of weeks, and hopes to have proposals for possible solutions for Florida homeowners by summer.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 23, 2009

Virginia Department of Health Offers Answers to Resident's Questions Concerning Defective Chinese Drywall

The Virginia Department of Health recently published a list of frequently asked questions associated with the growing concerns over defective Chinese Drywall. This is in response to the over 100,000 homes currently listed as having been built with defective drywall imported from China over the past several years. More and more states across the country are fielding concerns from residents wondering if their homes contain the defective drywall, and if so what steps will be taken to ensure their homes, and health, are cared for.

You can read the full document published by the Virginia Department of Health online here.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 22, 2009

Florida Congressman Robert Wexler Asks Governor Crist to Declare State of Emergency for Homes Affected by Chinese Drywall

Florida Congressman, Robert Wexler, recently introduced legislation establishing an immediate study and federal ban on dangerous Chinese drywall. This legislation comes in response to the thousands of Florida homes affected by the defective product. The reports of serious health risks affecting residents throughout the state due to the defective Chinese drywall found in residential home built by developers during the past few years are staggering. There are currently 35,000 homes in Florida affected, along with new reports of homes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia being affecting as well.

Congressman Wexler also wrote to Governor Charlie Crist urging him to declare a State of Emergency in Florida. This would allow state and local officials to work with affected Florida families and petition for funding for repairs from the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA).

Congressman Wexler introduced the Drywall Safety Act of 2009, which would require the Consumer Product and Safety Commission to examine Chinese drywall and make recommendations as to whether new safety standards are necessary to ensure that the drywall is safe for use in residential construction. The legislation would also establish an immediate ban on any drywall that is found to be potentially hazardous.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 21, 2009

Homes Initially Thought to Be Chinese Drywall Free, Now Not Able To Guarantee Safety

Homeowner warranties and insurance policies may be of no help to homeowners who have Chinese Drywall due to exclusions in the policies. New Orleans, Louisiana residents, who were initially informed that their homes were built with only United States manufactured materials, are now being informed that the construction company who built their homes is not able to guarantee that Chinese materials were not used in the construction of their homes.

The construction company recently sent homeowners a letter acknowledging the fear of "high levels of sulfur" in the drywall. In the letter, Natalie Culpeper, Sunrise Homes director of operations, writes that while her company's suppliers were only supposed to use "drywall manufactured in the United State." Those same suppliers are now "unable to guarantee with certainty that none of the product in question was shipped to our jobs."

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 20, 2009

Report Says Chinese Drywall Not Isolated to Florida: Also Found in Maryland, Virginia, Arizona, and Texas

According to a recent report the defective Chinese drywall initially thought to have been isolated to Florida, has now been reported in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, Arizona, and Texas. The report states that the toxic Chinese drywall found in Texas, could be just as bad, or even worse than what has been previously found in Florida.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 17, 2009

Chinese Drywall Class Action Suit May Not Help Homeowners For Years If Ever

I was reading Scott Wolfe's (@scottwolfejr) post on whether or not builders are getting a free pass on Chinese Drywall claims and I began to think about how a class action lawsuit will help homeowners remedy the problems with their homes today.

Based on the uptick in traffic coming to this blog and my firm's website from defective Chinese Drywall searches it is obvious that homeowners and condominium associations are following the recently filed lawsuits alleging class action claims against the manufacturers and distributors of Chinese Drywall. The main question that people are trying to answer is "how does a class action suit help me get the defective material out of my home?" Assuming class certification is even possible (and that is a subject for another blog), it will take many years for the class actions to be adjudicated. It may be more practical and cost effective to just file individual lawsuits against the manufacturer and distributors of the Chinese Drywall for violation of product liability statutes and state consumer fraud statutes, and against builders and contractors for negligence and breach of express and implied warranties. There may be many other claims that can be asserted against these defendants depending upon the law of the state governing the litigation. Since the manufacturer of the product is a Chinese company owned by a German parent company, collectability from these entities is open to question. Builders and subcontractors typically have commercial general liability insurance that may well provide an easier, quicker and much less expensive means for counsel to obtain relief for innocent victims who are stuck with homes containing hazardous Chinese Drywall. Filing individual suits has many potential advantages over waiting for class action suits to be adjudicated.

The question of whether the class action will be certified is often an expensive and very protracted battle because the plaintiff in a class action has to satisfy many onerous requirements including showing that they are representative of the entire class damaged by Chinese Drywall. Proving "commonality" among class members and "typicality" of claims may be very difficult. The manufacturer and distributors may make many creative arguments to challenge class certification. Among those that come most readily to mind are that the homes in the purported class are: (1) made of different materials which interface with the drywall differently; (2) designed by different architects using different design schemes; (3) located in different climates with different moisture conditions which affect the drywall and related materials differently; (4) were built using different subcontractors who installed the drywall and other building components in different ways in different homes; and (5) that there are other unrelated materials contributing to or serving as independent or intervening causes of the damages being attributed to the Chinese Drywall. The argument will be that these differences and many others prevent the plaintiffs in the class from satisfying the requirements for class certification. This battle will take years and will cost a fortune. Even if the battle is won, all that means is that the class is certified. The litigation of the liability and damages issues will then need to be fully litigated on the merits and tried if it cannot be settled.

The bottom line is that homeowners and condominium associations may want to consider why they should bother with this when individual suits against insured defendants may be sufficient to get you what you really want--money to pay to fix your homes. You should seek counsel from a qualified, experienced construction litigation attorney before deciding the best way for you to handle your individual claims.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 15, 2009

Louisiana Governor Reaches Out to EPA and CDC for Assistance

Last week, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal asked the Environmental Protection Agency and the Center For Disease Control and Prevention for help in investigating the effects of Chinese drywall. In the letter, Governor Jindal requested assistance from the EPA and the CDC in developing and implementing chemical testing protocols in homes in Louisiana that are experiencing severe copper corrosion associated with Chinese-made drywall. A copy of Governor Jindal's full letter is below:

Dear Administrator Jackson and Acting Director Besser:

In late February of this year, the State of Louisiana became aware of an unusual problem with premature corrosion of copper and other metal parts in a less-than-two-year-old home in southeast Louisiana. Despite trying to replace corroded parts over and over, the homeowners literally watched the corrosion eat away at their property and, when they learned that it might have been associated with the presence of Chinese-made drywall in their home, became concerned that their own home might also be a potential health hazard.

To assess the scope and extent of any potential health hazard in Louisiana, we immediately began taking proactive steps, including expanding operation of the Indoor Air Quality Hotline of our state Department of Health and Hospitals' Section on Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology, reaching out to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and working with the Department of Health of the State of Florida, which has been experiencing the corrosion/drywall phenomenon since the middle of last year.

In the time since our first contact with this issue, our Indoor Air Quality Program has received more than 350 consumer/resident calls related to the corrosion/drywall issue. Health related complaints are sporadic and DHH is attempting to gather more health-related information. However, media reports on the amount of drywall imported from China suggest that as many as 7,000 Louisiana homes may be affected, based on the amount of drywall imported into the state and used in the rebuilding here after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Recently completed laboratory analysis of bulk samples of drywall used in homes in South Florida confirmed the presence of radioactive sulfur compounds and elemental sulfur in drywall from China, and confirmed that drywall from problem homes generated additional, secondary sulfur compounds when exposed to high relative humidity or heat. All of these compounds are capable of causing the type of corrosion identified in Louisiana complaint homes, and, at sufficient concentrations, could pose a health hazard. These initial findings suggest that indoor air samples to determine occupant exposure to the corrosive gases should be performed in Louisiana.

We in Louisiana are not in a position to do this testing alone, and even the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission-which recently initiated an investigation focused on the suspected drywall and secondary damage it may be causing to electrical wiring, safety equipment and natural gas connections-has said that it does not have the resources and testing expertise necessary to evaluate occupant exposure in problem homes.

Given that additional reports of corrosion and drywall from Virginia and North Carolina now show that this is an interstate issue connected to the importation of a foreign-made product, I am requesting assistance from the EPA and the CDC to develop and implement chemical testing protocols in homes in Louisiana and elsewhere that are experiencing severe copper corrosion associated with Chinese-made drywall. The Environmental Response Teams and Industrial Hygienists from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry are expertly capable of evaluating the health hazards possibly associated with gases emitted from Chinesemade drywall, and will enable a timely exposure assessment and discovery of any public health implications.

On behalf of the State of Louisiana, I ask for any assistance you may be able to provide in accessing federal resources to assess human health exposures and hazards in these homes, which I know will benefit Louisianans and other Americans alike adversely impacted by this unexpected and peculiar set of circumstances.

We sincerely appreciate your consideration, and look forward to working with you and your staff in the days and weeks to come.

Sincerely,

Bobby Jindal

Governor, State of Louisiana

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 14, 2009

Defective Chinese Drywall Leads to Health Problems

An article on US News & World Report's website earlier this week reported that a Florida woman has been complaining of burning eyes, sinus headaches, and a general heaviness in her chest since moving into her brand-new, 4,000-square foot house in Florida a few years ago. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the potential health risks associated with the defective Chinese drywall, as well as health departments in Virginia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida and Washington state.

In 2006 alone enough wallboard was imported from China to build roughly 34,000 homes in Florida. For the residents of the over 100,000 homes affected by the defective drywall across the country, questions remain as to what the severity of these health risks will be.

You can really the full article online here.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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April 9, 2009

A Simple Checklist you can Follow to Determine if You have Chinese Drywall in your Condo

1. Does your drywall smell from rotten eggs? If so, the rotten egg smell is caused by sulphur leaching out of the drywall. It will not go away, although its intensity may vary depending upon environmental factors such as the size of the room; the amount of ventilation available, the proximity of windows and doors, and whether there are multiple cut-outs in the drywall. As a general matter, the more cut-outs there are, the stronger the intensity of the smell.

2. Chinese Drywall comes in 4 ft x 12 ft sheets that are 1/2 inches thick. If your drywall emits the "rotten eggs" smell and is 4 ft x 12 ft and 1/2 inch thick, that is cause for concern that you may have Chinese Drywall.

3. Look for exposed drywall and see if there is a stamp on it identifying it as "Made in China". You may want to pay a home inspector to go into your attic, move the insulation out of the way and see if there is a "Made in China" stamp. It is also possible that you may see a stamp "KNAUF-TIANJI" which is the name of one of the companies that manufactures Chinese Drywall.

4. Check the electrical wiring in your home to see if it is showing signs of corrosion. If you find signs of corrosion, or if you are not sure what you are looking at, have an electrician check the electrical wiring for signs of corrosion. If Chinese Drywall has been used, corrosion of the electrical wires connected to the outlets is reportedly a common occurrence. Due care should be taken to inspect the ground wire which is made of copper because it is exposed to air behind the walls which may have been contaminated with high levels of sulphur gas.

5. If you have Chinese drywall, the air inside your home may build- up concentrations of sulfur. This air which is contaminated with sulphur is drawn into the air-conditioning system. The evaporator coils are then exposed for extended periods of time to heavy volumes of air which is contaminated with sulphur. As the warm, moist sulphur-laden air blows across the cold evaporator coils, sulfur is caught in the condensation which forms on the coils. The chemical reaction that ensues causes significant corrosion of the air-conditioning coils. It has been reported that, over time, this has been known to damage HVAC systems to the point where they cannot function.

If you believe that your condominium has Chinese drywall, please contact Donald Brenner at 609.895.7330 or by email at dbrenner@stark-stark.com.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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March 31, 2009

Chinese Drywall May Damage Or Corrode HVAC and Electrical Systems In Homes

Builders and homeowners in Florida and other states across the country are becoming more and more concerned about Chinese-manufactured drywall that is suspected of being defective. Specifically, it is believed that the drywall contains chemicals that may corrode HVAC systems and damage electrical components. The drywall emits noxious odors that smell like rotten eggs. At this time, no causative link has been publicly reported between the Chinese-manufactured drywall and any personal injuries. So far, the Chinese-manufactured drywall has only been linked to property damage. We will continue to monitor developments and ask that you contact us if you have reason to believe you or your property have been damaged by Chinese- manufactured drywall. Please bear in mind that the statute of limitations in New Jersey for a claim under the New Jersey Product Liability Act is 6 years.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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March 17, 2009

Problems With Chinese-manufactured Drywall

Stark & Stark is conducting an investigation into problems with allegedly defective Chinese-manufactured drywall. According to a recent article posted by Newsinferno.com, the allegedly defective Chinese Drywall was, for the most part, produced by Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd. of China. Knauf maintains that its Chinese Drywall is safe and damage to homes or people must be caused by some other source. However, recently, the Bradenton Herald reported that Michael Foreman, a construction consultant for Sarasota’s Foreman & Associates, Inc., said the Knauf plasterboard is, in fact, defective. Foreman also said that a sample he reviewed was found to contain a marking for an outdated standard: “ASTM C36.” "ASTM" stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials, an international organization that develops standards for products and materials. The article says that the Bradenton Herald explained that the C36 standard was replaced over four years ago with “ASTM C1396.” The Bradenton Herald also noted a piece of very interesting information: The C36 drywall was produced in March 2006, two years after that standard was changed.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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March 3, 2009

WCI Communities Bankruptcy and Chinese Drywall

WCI Communities, with developments in New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Virginia, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Aug. 4 as it faced about $2 billion in debt. There have been reports of complaints about foul odors coming from drywall in homes built by WCI. Some have reported problems with air-conditioning, and electrical systems that have corroded. An investigation is being launched into whether Chinese-manufactured drywall used in these homes is the cause of the damage to these homes.The suspicion is that chemicals used in manufacturing the Chinese drywall cause corrosion of air-conditioning and electrical systems.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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February 24, 2009

Foul Odor In Home A Result of Chinese Drywall

WCI Communities, with developments in New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Virginia, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Aug. 4 as it faced about $2 billion in debt. There have been reports of complaints about foul odors coming from drywall in homes built by WCI. Some have reported problems with air-conditioning, and electrical systems that have corroded. An investigation is being launched into whether Chinese-manufactured drywall used in these homes is the cause of the damage to these homes.The suspicion is that chemicals used in manufacturing the Chinese drywall cause corrosion of air-conditioning and electrical systems.

If you believe your home may have been constructed using defective Chinese drywall please contact Stark & Stark's Construction Litigation group to discuss your rights and possible remedies.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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February 18, 2009

Defective Chinese Drywall

Stark & Stark's Construction Litigation Team is investigating possibly defective Chinese drywall (a.k.a. "sheetrock," "plasterboard") that has allegedly ruined many new condominium units in several states.

Over the past few months, owners of newer condominium units nationwide have been complaining of drywall that smells like rotten eggs. In several cases, owners have vacated their units because of the putrid odor. Homeowners have also reported problems with air conditioning and HVAC systems that are allegedly related to the defective Chinese drywall. Some have spent thousands of dollars to have air conditioning and HVAC system pipes and wiring repaired.

Usually, drywall is manufactured in the United States, but a shortage developed after Hurricane Katrina which prompted many builders to buy drywall from China. Most of the reported problems stem from drywall imported from China during the construction boom years of 2004-2005.

Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd. of China, a subsidiary of German-based manufacturer Knauf, is the company at the focus of these drywall problems. Investigation by Lennar Homes has resulted in their conclusion that "some drywall can emit a naturally occurring sulfur compound that, when it interacts with the copper in the AC coil, can cause corrosion and lead to failure." http://static.cbslocal.com/station/wfor/files/lennardrywall.pdf

If your condominium unit emits a smell like "rotten eggs", you may have defective Chinese Drywall in your condominium. If you believe your home may have been constructed using defective Chinese drywall please contact Stark & Stark's Construction Litigation group to discuss your rights and possible remedies.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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January 13, 2009

Drywall Imported From China Causing Construction Problems

The construction industry appears to be the latest victim of the stream of defectively manufactured goods from China that have poured into our country over the last few years. As if the construction market has not experienced enough hardship in these trying economic times, reports have recently surfaced of defective drywall products that were imported from China as the likely cause of putrid sulfur odor emissions being experienced in newly constructed homes and failure of metal devices typically installed behind sheetrocked walls, such as HVAC systems and metallic wiring. (See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123171862994672097.html). Although drywall products used by American builders were typically manufactured in the U.S., a shortage of construction materials in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina lead to builders importing the products from overseas.


A handful of builders and environmental consultants, mostly in the Florida area, are investigating whether the drywall that was imported from China is emitting sulfur-based gases that could be corroding air-conditioner coils, computer wiring and metal picture frames. Homeowners in several Florida counties have reported that their evaporator coils of air-conditioning equipment prematurely failed, were replaced, and then failed again. The Sulfur odors have been associated with erosion on copper in electrical outlets, metal surfaces behind refrigerators and other places where metal is in these homes. The Sulfur odor can also cause people to experience mild and moderate respiratory irritation that clears up only when they leave the homes. These reports have lead to homeowners expressing concerns whether the odor will cause long-term health conditions if they stay in the home.


The Environmental Protection Agency has investigated the problem and confirms there is a problem with the drywall from China:

“It is the drywall, and from what I gather it is causing a problem with copper and, specifically, air conditioning units,” said Dawn Harris-Young, spokeswoman from the EPA’s Region 4 in Atlanta.


The extent of the problem is not yet known, with reports coming in mostly in the southeast, but at least one case reported in the Virginias. Officials have indicated that children and the elderly are at the highest risk for health problems from the sulfur gas emissions, and that individuals with asthma or chemical sensitivity are at an even higher risk.

If you suspect your home may be built with defective Chinese drywall, contact us here for a free no obligation case review.

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