Sick Homes? Chinese Drywall Problems Affect Louisiana and Washington

There is a problem with defective Chinese drywall that was imported into the United States between 2004 and 2006, and while the problem was initially thought to mostly affect homes built in Florida, further investigation reveals that the scope is wider. Much wider.

The Scope

Washington D.C.-based America’s Watchdog, a consumer advocacy group, has conducted an investigation of its own and has found defective drywall in fifteen different states – including Louisiana and Washington. Shipping records reportedly show that 550 million pounds of Chinese drywall has been imported since 2006, which is enough to build 60,000 average-size homes. Most of the drywall was used between 2004 and 2007, which as most people in Louisiana know, is precisely when homes were being rebuilt in post-Katrina New Orleans. In fact, the Construction Litigation Law Blog reports that the reason for the importing of Chinese drywall may be related to “shortage of construction materials in the Gulf Coast” following Hurricane Katrina.”

The Problem

So, what exactly is “defective drywall?” According to the sources like the Herald Tribune and America’s Watchdog, it’s “toxic” drywall, or drywall that is contaminated with certain chemicals. The drywall emits a rotten egg or sulfur type smell, and can cause pretty severe damage to a home – including corrosion and blackening of pipes and ruining air conditioning coils. Aside from the effects on inhabits health, remedying the problem may require the replacement of the drywall itself, studs, wiring, pipes and more….clearly, an expensive endeavor. With drywall manufactured in Chinese, delivered to the United States, imported through our ports, transported through the country, sold wholesale by domestic manufacturers, purchased by supply houses, and used by contractors….the problematic question is obvious… Who pays for the damages?

How It Can Affect Your Company

The class action lawsuits have already started to appear, and plaintiff attorneys are trying to connect the dots in determining who can and should pay for the damages. Unfortunately, if your company was anywhere along the chain of installing drywall between 2001 and 2008, and that drywall happened to be “Chinese drywall,” you could be named as a defendant in a very expensive and lengthy litigation. Some builders who have been identified as using Chinese Drywall include Taylor Morrison, WCI Communities, Meritage Homes, Ryland Homes, Standard Pacific Homes and Aubuchon Homes.  Knauf Tianjin Plasterboard Co., Ltd is one of the problematic manufactures of Chinese Drywall identified thus far. If your company is not named in the action and is not related to the problems, some have suggested a “silver lining” for the depressed construction industry to do repair work on the affected homes. A lot of information has yet to reveal itself, and the issue is still in its infancy.    So, stay tuned. See also, Wall Street Journal Article, "Chinese Drywall Cited in Building Woes"
Scott Wolfe
About the Author: Scott Wolfe
Scott Wolfe, Jr. obtained his J.D. degree from Loyola University of New Orleans, and his B.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. In 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, Scott was recognized as a Leader in Law by CityBusiness Magazine. The son and grandson of general contractors, Scott is a construction litigator in the Pacific Northwest, and the founding member of the bi-coastal law firm, Wolfe Law Group. Scott is also the founder and CEO of Express Lien, Inc., a legal document preparation service for contractors. In 2008, City Business Magazine recognized Scott as one of its Innovators of the Year for the Express Lien concept. As an entrepreneur himself, Scott has a strong background in business and commercial transactions and laws. He focuses his practice on the legal issues facing the construction industry, and has represented clients in multi-million dollar construction disputes in litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings. Scott is a LEED AP.

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