By: Allan M. Siegel
After years of challenging the authority of U.S. Courts, Chinese drywall
manufacturer Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., has paid out on a judgment of $3.2
million to the owners of seven homes in Hampton Roads, Virginia, that
had been damaged by the company's toxic drywall. Just last year Taishan
had skipped a hearing in New Orleans after the judgment was made final.
In response, the U.S. District Court judge held the company in contempt
of court and banned it from doing business in the U.S. until the company
returned to court. To resolve that matter, Taishan paid an additional
fine of $40,000.
The payout on the original judgment is a turning point in the case as approximately
4,000 homeowners in Virginia, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi,
and Texas, can now move forward with their claims against the company.
The seven original families were "bellwether" cases, which are
a small sample out of a larger group of cases that are tried so the parties
will have a better indication of what is likely to happen in future trials
on the same issues. These results can often help settle the remaining
cases or streamline the litigation process by allowing the parties to
focus on trying only certain issues, such as damages. More than 10,000
homeowners had installed the toxic drywall after hurricanes in 2005, and
during the nationwide home construction growth prior to the 2008 recession.
The defective drywall caused bad or sulfurous smells, damage to appliances,
skin irritation and breathing problems, as well as blackening of copper
wiring and pipes. Many owners of the homes affected by the toxic drywall
were forced to move from their homes or take on costly renovations to
repair the damage. A hearing has been set for April 28, 2015 to discuss
resolving the damages' claims for the remaining 4,000 homeowners,
and damages are likely to exceed $1 billion. Another Chinese drywall maker
had settled in 2012 with 4,500 homeowners for approximately $1 billion.
The personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel
P.C., know that these types of cases will be more common as more and more
products are manufactured outside the United States without the same oversight
as goods made in the United States. We have represented countless individuals
who have been hurt by the negligence of corporations, and know the importance
of having attorneys fighting for you to hold them accountable. If you
or someone you loved has been injured as a result of a corporation's
negligence, please give us a
call for a free consultation.