Pilot program to remediate Chinese drywall issues in four states
Chinese drywall will be removed from up to 300 homes in a pilot program funded by the believed maker of defective Chinese drywall, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin. The remediation program is a partial settlement in a multistate lawsuit involving Chinese drywall. The drywall was imported into the United States during the housing boom and after several Gulf Coast hurricanes caused extensive damage to homes, further increasing the demand and reducing the supply of American-made drywall. It was later discovered that the Chinese-made drywall was emitting a sulfur-like odor that emits chemicals that can corrode plumbing, damage appliances and affect homeowners' health. The homes will be fixed according to a protocol developed by U.S. District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon, who is presiding over the multistate litigation over Chinese drywall in New Orleans. The protocol requires the removal of all drywall, electrical wiring, the air-conditioning system, along with other components — effectively gutting the interior of the house. The pilot program, funded by Knauf, home builders, suppliers and insurers, will remove the drywall from a limited number of homes in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. It will start immediately with the remediation of about 30 homes with others identified in future months. If it is successful, the program could be extended, possibly globally, according to the Chinese Drywall Legal Network. The legal network represents more than 650 clients. The settlement also includes reimbursement for living expenses and property maintenance expenses while the work is under way. Bruce Steckler, a shareholder at Dallas-based Baron & Budd law firm and a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the drywall litigation, said he supports the agreement. “This is the first step to a complete resolution with Knauf. We will continue to prosecute claims against Knauf and other manufacturers of Chinese Drywall until we get a final resolution,” said Steckler. “We’re very pleased with this program.”. Write to Kerry Curry.