Sunday, February 22, 2009

Beware of Tainted Chinese Drywall

I ran across this story in the St. Petersburgs Times out of Florida. It seems that during 2005 and 2006, some home construction companies decided that the lower costs that globalization brings was a good thing.

They went shopping for their drywall in China, unwilling to pay for higher quality domestic building materials. This effort to cut corners has cost them dearly, and some homeowners, unfortunately. It seems they didn't catch on with the Chinese toothpaste (with antifreeze, yum) and toys (painted with lead which injured American children).

This drywall, notably manufactured by Knauf Plasterboard, Tianjin Co., emits sulfur gasses. No health risks noted yet, but that doesn't mean it's not offensive. I don't think it comes with a supply of Febreze.

The principal issue is that the gas corrodes metal. This means residential electrical wiring, some plumbing pipes, and some central air conditioner components such as copper HVAC coils. The cost-cutting move may have put a few more dollars in contractors pockets, but it really hammered homeowners already in a bad economic position.

Isn't it bad enough that Americans can't even get construction jobs anymore because state and federal officials turn a blind eye to greedy contractors hiring illegal aliens? Oh wait, how un-inclusive of me; I meant "guest workers". My bad.

So far, the main afflicted areas are Manatee, Sarasota and Lee counties, Pinellas, St. Lucie and Collier. If you own a home built during the time this drywall was installed, and it was used, you certainly have my sympathy. Si, senor. Ya me voy.


CDShephard said...

Chinese drywall manufacturer, Knauf, has agreed to accept “service of lawsuits” for one month, an unprecedented move that eliminates many of the obstacles claimants have been facing, and a huge breakthrough for plaintiffs who have suffered the unpleasant and potentially harmful odors and fumes and metal corrosion associated with defective Chinese drywall. Claimants with KPT drywall need to file on to the suit no later than December 2, 2009, with the suit filed by December 9, 2009. Homes must be inspected before the December deadline so that claimants can submit proof that their house was built with Knauf Drywall. This is a good place to get information on filing a suit: and includes a toll-free number for claimants looking to join the lawsuit. Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd., is alleged to be a subsidiary of the German-based Knauf Gips KG and is one of several Chinese companies accused of manufacturing and importing defective drywall from China into the U.S.

CDShephard said...

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) just released a report that has linked Chinese drywall to high levels of hydrogen sulfide and the corrosion of metals in homes. The highly anticipated report comes a little over one week before some victims of the Chinese drywall debacle face an important deadline for filing suit against Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd., a maker of Chinese drywall.

Hundreds of homeowners have filed suit over defective Chinese drywall, and all pending federal cases have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation currently underway in New Orleans. An agreement has been reached and victims whose homes were built with wallboard manufactured by Knauf must sign on to the omnibus class action suit against Knauf no later than December 2, 2009. This is a hard deadline; the omnibus complaint will not be amended later to add additional claimants. Eligibility involves submission of photographs or other proof that the home in question was constructed with wallboard made by Knauf Plasterboard.

Parker Waichman Alonso LLP is the first law firm to file a federal Chinese drywall lawsuit and is offering assistance to any homeowner interested in joining the Knauf Plasterbaoard lawsuit. Free consultations are available through the firm’s website at or by calling 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

CDShephard said...

The first Chinese drywall lawsuit begins this month and here is some good information on this ongoing issue: Among other problems, people living with Chinese drywall have suffered eye, respiratory, and sinus problems that may be linked to the gases emitted from defective Chinese drywall. Some 500 million pounds of Chinese drywall was imported into this country since the late 1990s, impacting about 100,000 homes.