Chinese Drywall Maker Settles with Beazer Homes

Knauf Plasterboard Tianjian has settled Chinese drywall claims with Beazer Homes USA, Inc. In a statement issued yesterday, Knauf said the details of the Beazer settlement will be made public in the coming days.

Knauf’s statement also indicated that more settlements with builders could be in the works. According to a CBS News report, Knauf is in confidential settlement talks with 6 to 10 other builders that, like Beazer Homes, unknowingly used the bad drywall to constructed homes and were then forced to repair the damage.

Since late 2008, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received more than 3,000 reports from residents in 37 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico regarding defective Chinese drywall. Gases emitted from Chinese drywall are being blamed for significant property damage, including damage to HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, and other household appliances. These gases also produce a sulfurous odor that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode. People living with Chinese drywall have also suffered eye, respiratory and sinus problems that may be linked to the gases.

Hundreds of Chinese drywall lawsuits have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in federal court in New Orleans before U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon. Last month, Judge Fallon ordered Knauf, which is named in 200 such lawsuits, to pay 164,000 to a Louisiana family whose home was ruined by the wallboard. The month prior, he had ordered another manufacturer, Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., to pay $2.6 million to seven Virginia families whose homes were contaminated with Chinese drywall.

In both cases, Judge Fallon mandated that the plaintiffs’ homes be gutted down to the studs. The Judge also ruled that the plaintiffs were entitled to damages for the cost of personal property damaged by the drywall gases, relocation costs, and loss of use and enjoyment of the home.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Beazer said in its most recent quarterly report that it had identified about 50 homes in Southwest Florida where subcontractors installed defective Chinese drywall. Beazer was one of the first builders to step up and fully remediate troubled homes, the Journal said. According to the report, the remediation protocol ordered by Judge Fallon in the two Chinese drywall lawsuits he decided had been proposed by Beazer.

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