Lawyers And Home Owners Claims

Home owners in Grand Prairie, Arlington, Grapevine, Colleyville, Irving, Crowley, De Soto, Dallas, Fort Worth, Mesquite, Lake Worth, and other places in the DFW metropolitan area do not have some of the fears and concerns that home owners along the Gulf Coast have. But there are always concerns about claims denials resulting in a homeowner taking a loss. So, being aware of other ways of recovering losses is important.
The Miami Herald ran a story on October 26, 2001, titled Homeowners File Lawsuit Against Chinese Drywall Manufacturer, Distributor.
The history of these Chinese drywall claims is pretty easy to follow. After storms hit the Gulf Coast area in the early part of this decade, a lot of the damaged homes were repaired using Chinese drywall. This drywall was defective causing problems with home owners and devaluing effected homes.
The article tells us that lawyers representing South Florida homeowners with defective Chinese drywall went on the offensive, pursuing separate legal claims against both the manufacturer and a distributor of the toxic product.
In Miami-Dade Circuit Court, a group of lawyers pressed for punitive damages against the German-based drywall manufacturing company Knauf and its Chinese outpost Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co. The homeowners’ original complaints sought compensatory damages, and the motion for punitive damages could potentially lead to steeper penalties if Knauf is found to be liable for the tainted drywall used during the re-builds.
Knauf manufactured millions of sheets of Chinese drywall, which contains toxins that can corrode pipes and electrical wiring in homes, emit foul odors and cause breathing problems.
“They engaged in conduct that endangered every American consumer that had defective drywall,” said the homeowners attorney. He compared the drywall to a “ticking time bomb.” “They concealed it from the American consuming public in order to protect their financial interests.”
The Judge presiding over the case, stopped short of allowing all plaintiffs to seek punitive damages, indicating that the individual cases will have to be heard on their merits, saying, “Each plaintiff must meet his or her burden of proof.”
The article tells us that the cases are complex and likely to be drawn out because of the large number of parties and allegations involved.
Knauf maintains they have acted in good faith with respect to drywall it sold in the United States. Knauf cited proof of their good faith by pointing out their remediation program, which was the company’s idea.
As South Florida homeowners seek to recover damages from the drywall manufacturer, they are also going after the Miami-based distributor that bought more than a million sheets of Chinese drywall from Knauf.
A new lawsuit filed against Miami-based Banner Supply Co. claims that the company kept distributing the Chinese drywall even after it learned about the defects, and entered into a secret agreement with Knauf to keep silent.
The lawsuit alleges that company directors Arthur and Jack E. Landers learned the drywall was defective back in 2006, but conspired with the manufacturer to conceal the problem from homeowners. The lawsuit claims Banner engaged in a secret agreement with Knauf to replace its supply of defective drywall with U.S. made drywall and remain silent about the defects.
Banner denied the allegations.
An attorney for Banner said in a statement, “While it may be easiest to pursue a small, Florida-based company rather than focus on the German conglomerate that manufactured the defective drywall, the fact remains that Banner Supply didn’t create the drywall problem.”
For its part, Banner agreed to a $54.5 million settlement with more than 3,000 affected homeowners, some of whom have opted out to pursue separate claims. Banner also launched a $100 million lawsuit against Knauf.