When Bill Morgan, moved into his newly built dream home in Williamsburg, Va., three years ago, his hopes were quickly dashed. As reported in the New Times. Read the complete story here
His wife and daughter suffered constant nosebleeds and headaches. A persistent foul odor filled the house. Every piece of metal indoors corroded or turned black.
Mr. Morgan moved out. The headaches and nosebleeds stopped, but the ensuing financial problems pushed him into personal bankruptcy.
Mr. Morgan, like many other American homebuyers who tell similar tales of woe, is blaming the drywall in his new home — specifically, drywall from China, imported during the housing boom to meet heavy demand — that he says is contaminated with various sulfur compounds.
Hundreds of lawsuits are piling up in state and federal courts, and a consolidated class action is moving forward in Louisiana before Judge Eldon E. Fallon of Federal District Court, who will begin hearing cases in January.
Three hundred cases have been filed in Louisiana alone, many with similar complaints from homeowners — a noxious smell, recurrent headaches and difficulty breathing.
In addition, these suits say, metal objects in homes corrode quickly, causing kitchen appliances, air-conditioners, televisions and plumbing to fail.
“There could be 60,000 to 100,000 homes that are worthless and have to be ripped completely down and rebuilt,” said Arnold Levin, a Philadelphia lawyer and co-chairman of the plaintiffs’ steering committee.
This month, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, whose investigation into Chinese drywall is the largest in its history, will release the results of a study to determine why the drywall is causing the problem, and what kind of remediation programs might be effective.
Investigators are finding that getting scientific data, establishing legal accountability and following a supply chain is difficult when so many drywall sheets — millions in all were brought into the United States — were simply marked “Made in China,” providing no clues to their actual source. The drywall was brought in because United States supplies ran low, not as a cost-saving measure for builders.
One target of the lawsuits is Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin, a German company with manufacturing plants in China that supplied about 20 percent of the Chinese drywall brought into the United States.
Don Hayden, the company’s lawyer, said that its own toxicology tests from affected homes showed that the drywall presented no health problems. Even so, he said his company was cooperating with American government investigations.
One drywall manufacturer, the Taishan Gypsum Company, which is controlled by the Chinese government, was found to be in preliminary default last week by a federal judge after the company failed to show up in court.
The product safety commission has received more than 1,300 complaints from 26 states, but the bulk are from Florida, Louisiana and Virginia, where hurricanes led to an unprecedented housing boom in 2006 and 2007.
In 2006 alone, nearly seven million sheets of drywall were imported from China. The federal court in the Eastern District of Louisiana has identified 26 brands of drywall, but 11 others had no markings other than variations of “Made in China.”
There are estimates that it costs $100,000 to $150,000 per home to rip out and replace tainted drywall and the electrical equipment attached to it. In these cases, homes are being stripped down to the studs and new drywall is installed.
Mr. Morgan said that metal fixtures in his house turned black. His air-conditioner and electrical outlets failed. Lamps and mirrors tarnished immediately. Neighbors, too, had similar problems..
If you or a family member has been personally injured because of the fault of someone else: by the use of dangerous and defective drugs, bad products, or toxic injury etc then please contact the Dallas Texas Defective Drugs Product Liability Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.