NEW ORLEANS - On April 8, Judge Eldon E. Fallon of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana awarded seven Virginia plaintiffs $2.6 million for damage to their property, personal property, compensatory damages, and the loss of the use and enjoyment of their homes, due to imported drywall from China, against defendant Taishan Gypsum.

Imported Chinese drywall has been linked to IAQ concerns and premature failure of appliances including HVAC systems.

The ruling found that Chinese drywall from Taishan Gypsum was different than domestic drywall because it had significantly higher average concentrations of strontium and detectable levels of elemental sulfur. Court findings were consistent with reports from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Florida Health Department. Further, the court held that gases released by the Chinese drywall caused offending odors, making homes uninhabitable, and also corroded metals.

“The level of corrosive sulfur gases emitted by Chinese drywall in the plaintiffs’ homes exceed the safe level established by recognized standards, peer reviewed literature, and expert opinions and this corrosive environment has had a significant impact on the exposed property,” the court said.

The ruling requires the removal of all drywall from the plaintiffs’ homes versus selective removal of only the Chinese drywall. It also requires the removal of all wire, copper, HVAC units, carpets, hardwood floor, and electronic devices suffering damage from the Chinese drywall. In addition, the court found that items that require removal for complete remediation, such as cabinets, counter tops, trim, insulation, etc., must be replaced. This is consistent with remediation recommendations of both the CPSC and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). It has been reported that thousands of homes in the United States have been impacted by Chinese drywall.

Publication date: 04/26/2010