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Scott Kappes
Scott Kappes
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Builders Getting a Break from Some Chinese Drywall Liability

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Last week a Florida court ruling relieved some of the liability that home builders are facing in the Chinese drywall debacle.

Judge Glenn Kelly of the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County, Florida ruled that home builders did not manufacture the problem drywall and were not within the supply chain, and therefore could not be held “strictly liable” for the alleged defects in the product.

Many speculate that the decision could be used as a template for other judges litigating similar cases involving Chinese drywall, but it is unclear whether the decision will affect the high profile multi-district litigation currently being conducted in Louisiana.

The decision obviously pleases the building industry, but plaintiffs’ attorneys disagree with the ruling.

While many decisions concerning Chinese drywall litigation have already been reached there is still much debate on how the bulk of the suits will be decided, and exactly what responsibilities home builders will have in those decisions.

For several years, builders have feared expensive lawsuits and court settlements over a product largely purchased and installed by subcontractors. Some, have even paid to fix the homes themselves. Lennar Corp., one of the biggest builders in Florida, set aside $80.7 million to cover drywall claims from nearly 900 homeowners. It hopes to be reimbursed by insurers and others.

Last month one of the largest suppliers of problem Chinese drywall, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin, agreed to remediate 300 homes in four states. If this “pilot program” is successful it could serve to lay the groundwork for the resolution of thousands of additional Chinese drywall lawsuits that have been filed throughout the nation.

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    I wrote about this subject when the stories first broke, thinking that in Hawaii where I live and practice law ( http://www.wayneparsons.com )we must have a lot of Chinese Drywall being closer to China. Well, none of the stuff arrived in Hawaii and we do not have a problem. I still get calls from people all over the conutry that have discovered that they have a problem. I always refer them to the Injury Board law firms who are both competent and ethical. Thanks for this update. Here is a reference to my article from almost 2 years ago: “Drywall From China Causes Concern Over Sulfur Odor In Homes”

    http://honolulu.injuryboard.com/defective-and-dangerous-products/chinese-drywall-causes-concern-sulfur-odor-prompts-material-testing-in-some-lee-homes.aspx