U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon of New Orleans, who presides over Chinese drywall cases filed in federal court, on Monday listened to the testimony of homeowners about the damage they have suffered due to toxic Chinese drywall–both to their homes and their finances.
Chinese drywall plaintiffs also sought a judgment against Chinese drywall manufacturer Taishan Gypsum Co., which has so far ignored the lawsuit and did not participate in the two-day hearing. Even if the judge rules in the plaintiffs’ favor, collecting money from the Chinese company will be difficult.
The Virginia homeowners testified about the financial havoc caused by the Chinese drywall in their homes, such as ruined electrical systems, appliances, and air conditioning units. They also complained about fears for their health and their loss of financial security. One man testified that he and his wife cannot afford to move out of their tainted home and will likely have to postpone retirement due to the financial hardships caused by the Chinese drywall damage.
The judge also heard testimony from engineers who have inspected homes with Chinese drywall and estimated the cost of remediating defective drywall and replacing corroded appliances and electrical systems. The testimony is intended to help the judge develop guidelines for remediation.
The judge’s ruling will only affect the cases of the participating Virginia homeowners. The first Chinese drywall trial, on behalf of a Louisiana family against a different Chinese company, is scheduled to begin on March 15.
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