Chinese drywall victims whose homes were built with wallboard manufactured by Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd are just weeks away from a make-or-break deadline. They have until December 2, 2009 to join an omnibus class action lawsuit that will be filed against Knauf on December 9. Knauf has agreed to waive its rights under The Hague Convention for the Service of Process Abroad for homeowners who sign on to this lawsuit by the December 2 deadline.
The December 2 deadline is a hard deadline, and the omnibus complaint will not be amended at a later date to add more people. Claimants will also face a second deadline â€“ December 14 â€“ by which time they must have filled out a profile form.
To be eligible for the omnibus lawsuit, claimants must submit pictures or other proof that they have wallboard made by Knauf Plasterboard in their homes by December 2, 2009. Any Chinese drywall homeowner interested in becoming a party to this lawsuit must start now by contacting an attorney and arranging to have their home inspected.
Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, the first law firm to file a federal Chinese drywall lawsuit, is offering assistance to any homeowner interested in joining the Knauf Plasterboard lawsuit. Free consultations are available through the firmâ€™s website at <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/">www.yourlawyer.com, or by calling 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).
The Hague Convention for the Service of Process Abroad requires claimants to pay approximately $15,000 per lawsuit, which allows for the translation of legal documents into Chinese and to have them presented to the appropriate authorities in China to obtain service on the Chinese drywall manufacturers. These requirements were a huge obstacle to claimants, and Knaufâ€™s offer to waive them will greatly streamline the litigation process for plaintiffs who make the deadline.
The agreement with Knauf was announced earlier this month by Judge Eldon E. Fallon, who is overseeing the consolidated Chinese drywall litigation (MDL 2047) currently underway in federal court in New Orleans. The offer applies only to the consolidated federal litigation, not individual cases.