Attorneys Russ Herman, court-appointed liaison counsel, and Arnold Levin, court-appointed lead counsel, in the Chinese drywall federal litigation, MDL 2047, are gratified the presiding federal judge, the Honorable Judge Eldon E. Fallon, has issued an order approving five class-action settlements with manufacturers, builders, suppliers and installers of Chinese drywall and their various insurers.
These settlements are estimated to be in excess of $1 billion, though the total value of which will depend primarily on the actual costs of remediation, the funding for which is uncapped. The settlements will benefit more than 10,000 property owners whose homes and properties have been damaged by defective Chinese drywall. These settlements were achieved after several years of settlement discussions and court-ordered conferences and are based on the precedents set by the 2010 Hernandez case and Knauf Pilot Program initiated in the fall of 2010, which were previously approved by Judge Fallon.
A fairness hearing on this settlement took place Nov. 13, 2012. The court’s order certified the Interior/Exterior Building Supply, LP, settlement; the Banner settlement; the L&W Supply Corp. settlement; the Knauf settlement; and the Global participating builders, suppliers and installers settlement.
The balance of the case will continue as the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals determines whether another Chinese manufacturer and supplier of defective drywall, Taishan Entities (including Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.), which is owned and operated by the People’s Republic of China, may also be held liable for damage to an additional 4,000 to 5,000 properties in the future.
Levin said he is “thrilled that the court has issued an order and is hopeful that homeowners will now be able to get their homes remediated and put their lives back together.”
It is estimated between 12,000 and 20,000 homes and businesses have been built using the defective drywall between 2005 and 2008, primarily in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia. The defective drywall has been associated with unpleasant and potentially harmful odors and fumes that corrode metals, including air-conditioning units, fixtures and other appliances.