The years of frustration for homeowners who’ve been affected by defective Chinese drywall may soon be near an end.
According to a New York Times report, a federal judge in Louisiana has ruled that the Chinese company Taishan Gypsum should be held wholly responsible for the negative impact its defective wallboard has caused thousands of homeowners in Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. This decision backs up recent state court rulings which also sought to hold Taishan Gypsum responsible, at least in some part, for the property damage and health problems its defective product has saddled thousands of Americans with for the last few years.
For at least the last five years, adversely affected homeowners who purchased homes built with defective Chinese drywall or had their homes remodeled with it have been seeking damages for the property damage they’ve incurred. The toxic drywall has also been blamed for health complications like skin and eye irritations as well as breathing difficulties. Many who’ve been affected have been forced from their homes and financially handicapped paying for two homes and numerous failed remedies to the problem.
Of all the problems blamed on Chinese drywall, finding a company to hold financially responsible has proven most difficult. Taishan Gypsum manufactured most of the defective drywall sold in those three states but has consistently denied it could be held responsible for the problems caused in the U.S., maintaining that its product is safe. This has made suing the company difficult and getting any money out of it for damages even more so.
NYTimes.com reports that U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon has ruled that Taishan Gypsum is responsible. That backs up a recent decision in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court that also ruled Taishan Gypsum was responsible for the damages caused by its defective drywall product. The company that exported the defective Chinese drywall to the U.S. is owned by Taishan Gypsum, the manufacturer, and that was enough to determine the company should be held liable, despite it saying that because it did not ship the product it should not be responsible.
These court decisions, despite the planned appeals from Taishan Gypsum, could signal a change in tide for thousands of homeowners affected by Chinese drywall. During the housing boom around 2005, the demand for wallboard dramatically increased. In Florida and Louisiana, specifically, this demand spiked after new homes were needed following the devastating hurricanes that destroyed many older homes.
It’s believed that more than 10,000 homeowners across the country could be affected by Chinese drywall. As many homeowners struggled through several options to remedy their homes of the problems the defective drywall caused, it took until the Consumer Product Safety Commission ruled that homes with the product should be nearly fully gutted to alleviate these woes. This has put financial strain on many homeowners as they struggled to hold someone liable for the damage.