$248 Million Settlement Reached in Drywall Lawsuit
Nearly a decade after filing their lawsuit, 1,800 Florida homeowners recently won a $248 million settlement from the manufacturer of the drywall that they say made their homes unlivable. The drywall, which was manufactured in China, was used here in America across 48 states. However, Florida had the most homes that were impacted by the issue. The plaintiffs said that the drywall produced unpleasant fumes smelling of sulfur, corroded fixtures, and raised serious health concerns.
The settlement is in response to two lawsuits against Chinese drywall manufacturer, Taishan Gypsum Ltd. The company began selling its drywall in the United States in 2009.
Providing Some Context
From 2004 through 2006, there was a major construction boom in Florida. At the same time, Hurricane Katrina was wreaking havoc on several Gulf states creating a shortage. With domestic supplies running short, construction companies looked to China to supply them with drywall. One of those companies was Taishan Gypsum Ltd.
Later, residents of homes began reporting that their fixtures were inexplicably corroding, and they could smell sulfur in the air. The sulfur caused corrosion to the fixtures and widespread panic that the awful odor was related to serious health risks. The issue was linked to the drywall purchased from this one Chinese company. Government scientists later reported that the drywall can cause dangerous gasses to form harming the health of residents.
Homes were built during this period were then subjected to the Great Recession. Millions of homeowners lost their homes as subprime lending crashed the market. Crashing property values caused many to walk away from the expense.
One of the major companies that produced these homes, Lennar Corp, set aside $40 million to handle claims related to the drywall and filed a lawsuit against the subcontractors that used the drywall. Another company, WCI Communities Inc was bankrupted by claims against it related to the dangerous drywall.
Injuries and Property Damage
In 2009, the Florida Department of Health concluded that fumes created by the drywall led to the corrosion of electrical components such as copper wires. The drywall was found to release gasses like sulfuric acid and hydrogen sulfide. Residents reported irritation to their eyes, ears, noses, and throats. Some felt a general malaise while others suffered from respiratory discomfort. There was concern that the drywall fumes could even damage safety features like carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarm systems.
Still, the settlement has some people unsatisfied. The costs related to the repair of the homes should have resulted in a settlement much larger for the number of named defendants. One attorney criticized the judge for approving the settlement. Most homeowners will only recover a fraction of their losses. But many have already walked away from the homes that were damaged by the drywall.
Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve suffered an injury due to a dangerous chemical or apartment conditions that caused you injury, call the Tampa personal injury attorneys at Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your situation in greater detail.