Two Chinese drywall cases are slated to go to trial in the coming weeks, one involving a Louisiana homeowner against a Chinese drywall manufacturer and one brought by Florida homebuilders against their insurance company. The cases are among the over 275 suits that are part of consolidated proceedings in a New Orleans federal court.
The federal judge in those proceedings recently held a hearing involving several Virginia homeowners to determine the best means to remediate the drywall problems as well as the costs involved. Product manufacturer Taishan Gypsum Co. did not respond to the suit and was not present at the proceeding. Although another manufacturer of Chinese drywall, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Ltd., initially agreed to put on a defense in Taishan’s place, the company pulled out at the last minute because of the judge’s refusal to consider its proposed air filtration system for remediation. The judge still held the hearing and is expected to issue his ruling in the next few weeks. His decision could set the standards for defective drywall remediation for homeowners across the country.
In addition to federal court hearings on remediation standards, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are working on a remediation protocol, which is expected to be announced in the next two months. The CPSC has also investigated reports of eight deaths of people living in homes with the defective drywall, but has concluded that there was no evidence that contaminated drywall played a role. A Louisiana Senator has asked for the CPSC and CDC to investigate these deaths further , however. While there have been many health complaints related to the drywall, which releases sulfuric fumes that corrode metal household components, the CPSC is still evaluating the potential health risk.
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