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Today a federal judge in New Orleans awarded $2.6 million in damages to seven Virginia families whose homes were damaged by Chinese drywall. The ruling could play a major role how thousands of other similar cases are settled.

It is not exactly clear how plaintiff will collect from Chinese based companies that do not have to respond to U.S. courts, but there have been talks of seizing U.S. bound ships and cargoes from drywall companies that refuse to respond or pay court ordered damages.

Earlier this month the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission released a report claiming that affected homes needed to be gutted and rebuilt to get rid of all of the corrosive effects of the tainted drywall. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon seems to agree.

The problem drywall has been linked to corrosion of wiring, air-conditioning units, computers, metal fixtures, and jewelry. Many also suspect that problem Chinese drywall may also be responsible for health problems suffered by people living in affected homes.

Fallon’s decision was the first in long line of lawsuits filed in Federal court against manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of the allegedly toxic drywall by homeowners who claim their home have been ruined by the defective product.

In this case, the plaintiffs sued Chinese drywall manufacturer Taishan Gypsum Co., which hasn’t responded to lawsuits and did not have a lawyer representing it at the February trial.

The decision could play a role in how the thousands of additional Chinese drywall lawsuits Fallon is presiding over will be settled, and also could influence thousands of additional lawsuits that have been filed in numerous state courts.

This comes as great news for those Americans whose homes have been damaged by Chinese drywall, but now the question is, can they collect?

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