Chinese Drywall Lawsuits? We’ve Got The Scoop!
Although most Chinese drywall litigation is ongoing in Florida, a North Carolina couple recently filed the state’s first lawsuit of this nature, the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and the News and Observer have reported.
The Holly Springs couple, Dan and Mary Flannigan, have alleged that defective drywall in their home caused a strong odor of sulfur, like the odor of rotten eggs, in their home. The Flannigans are alleging that the toxic drywall caused health problems and corroded parts of their air conditioning unit and other metal exposed to the drywall.
The Wall Street Journal reported on July 1, 2009 that the drywall does corrode metals and wiring systems but that the exact cause of the odor and corrosive effects is unknown. Some manufacturers have attributed these characteristics to the quality of gypsum used to produce the drywall, but it is still unclear exactly what makes the gypsum defective. Some parties have claimed that synthetic gypsum is to blame because of the chemical decontamination process it must undergo.
To date, 570 consumers from 19 states and the District of Columbia have reported the same or similar problems to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most reports have come from Florida and Louisiana, but reports were received from states throughout the southeast as well, including Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi. North Carolina Lawyers Weekly reported that problems have occurred in South Carolina homes as well.
As many newspapers have reported, most builders purchased the drywall from China during the housing boom that took place between 2004 and 2007 because of rising demand in the United States.
In attempts to resolve or prevent homeowners’ complaints, some of these builders are doing costly rebuilding to rectify the problems. In addition, home builders such as the Miami, Florida-based builder Lennar Homes have filed products liability and negligence actions against drywall manufacturers, alleging that the manufacturers knew or should have known the drywall was defective and that the home builders did not know they were purchasing defective drywall. Lennar sued several drywall suppliers as well, making claims for breach of contract, breach of express warranty and breach of implied warranty, the Naples Daily News reported.
We will keep you posted on this hot topic in the construction industry! For further information or questions, please contact Caroline Lindsey, an attorney with Anderson Jones, PLLC at (919) 277-2541 or by email, CLindsey@andersonandjones.com.