Miami Supplier Named in Chinese Drywall Lawsuit

Miami drywall distributor, Banner Supply, was apparently aware it supplied defective drywall to home builders, said The Miami Herald citing a confidential agreement signed by Banner Supply and a key Chinese drywall maker. The defective drywall was supplied four years ago.

Since late 2008, the U.S. 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.

While U.S. government agencies confirm the emissions from defective drywall cause significant problems in homes, health testing continues, said The Miami Herald.

In this case, when Banner Supply reached out to the drywall maker to discuss builder complaints, the Chinese drywall company replaced its supply of defective Chinese drywall with products made in America, said The Miami Herald. Meanwhile, Banner Supply never advised the government or its customers regarding the complaints and the underlying problem, noted the Miami Herald. Had it said anything, those details could have prevented the thousands of homeowners who are now suffering with malodorous odors, respiratory ailments, and home and property damage.

In the coming month, Banner Supply is scheduled for trial in Miami-Dade Circuit Court—the first case to be heard in the state of Florida.

As we have previously written, 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 who recently ordered Knauf, which is named in 200 such lawsuits, to pay $164,000 to a Louisiana family whose home was ruined by the wallboard. Prior, he 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 and 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.

Meanwhile, drywall maker, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjian (KPT), has settled Chinese drywall claims with Beazer Homes USA, Inc. Knauf said the details of the Beazer settlement will be made public shortly. KPF is the only Chinese company that has responded to legal U.S. claims, said The Miami Herald. KPT offered to pay to “remediate homes in two developments in southwest Florida,” said The Miami Herald.

KPT spokesman Don Hayden said in a statement made to The Miami Herald that, “because there was no basis for any health or safety concern, we did not contact the CPSC or any other government agency. When issues were later raised about impact to other components of the house [such as appliances] in the summer and fall of 2008, we participated in investigations by both state and federal agencies.”

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