Louisiana judge awards $2.6 million in Chinese drywall lawsuit

Kathy Woods Apr. 15, 2010, 5:42am

NEW ORLEANS, La. (Legal Newsline)- A federal judge in Louisiana may have set the standards for thousands of homes tainted with sulfur-emitting drywall imported from China.

In a ruling late last week, U.S. District Federal Judge Eldon Fallon of New Orleans ruled in favor of seven families in Virginia whose homes were ruined by the tainted drywall.

He said a Chinese company that made the defective drywall -- Taishan Gypsum Co.-- must pay $2.6 million to fix the homes.

"The sulfur gases released by Chinese drywall cause offending odors in homes, making them hard if not impossible to live in," Fallon was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

Tainted drywall from China has been connected to the corrosion of house wiring and air conditioning units in addition to some health problems.

The ruling Thursday exceeds the guidelines of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It essentially says that a home built with the tainted drywall must be gutted and rebuilt.

This is the first of many federal lawsuits being brought against manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and homebuilders that Fallon will be presiding over.

It is unclear how the $2.6 million awarded to the families will be collected since the Chinese companies involved do not have to respond to U.S. courts. There has been some talk of trying to get court orders to seize U.S. bound ships carrying the tainted drywall.

The case is In Re Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, 09-MD-02047, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

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