According to an article in today’s LawyersUSA, at least two class actions have been filed over allegedly defective Chinese drywall used in thousands of homes. The Chinese drywall allegedly emits a sulfur gas that makes the homes uninhabitable, with an unbearable “rotten egg” smell. The gas also allegedly corrodes electrical wiring, plumbing, air conditioning units and other metals in the homes. A plaintiff’s attorney estimates the damages in the hundred million dollar range.
One plaintiffs’ attorney, Ervin A. Gonzalez of Colson Hicks in Coral Gables, Florida, predicted that there may be 65,000 plaintiffs around the country. Both lawsuits are filed on behalf of Florida residents. Jordan Chaikin, another attorney for the plaintiffs, said suits are likely to spread to other states where the drywall was used, including Alabama, California, the Carolinas, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.
The homes, built at the height of the building boom in Florida, are each worth $300,000 to $500,000, said Robert Gary, a partner with Gary Naegele & Theado in Lorain, Ohio, who represents several Florida homeowners. Plaintiffs’ attorneys claim that the homes will have to be almost completely renovated.
Not only must all the drywall be replaced, but plumbing, electrical wiring and metal appliances that have been corroded will require replacement, said Chaikin. Gonzalez estimates it will cost each plaintiff one-third of the value of his or her home, plus relocation expenses and the expense of repairing personal property such as TVs, refrigerators and audio equipment.
We (American Legal Alliance lawyers) are currently evaluating the litigation to decide whether we want to participate on behalf of plaintiffs. If the claims appear meritorious and the damages are as substantial as the plaintiffs’ attorneys claim, we would be interested in getting involved in the litigation. In such a case, we would typically partner with one substantial plaintiffs’ trial firm which would handle much of the litigation. We (ALA) we would provide our network of local counsel in the states in which lawsuits are filed. ALA lawyers would also handle client intake, and provide cutting edge legal marketing to obtain clients. If you are a lawyer in a substantial plaintiffs’ litigation firm that represents plaintiffs in a Chinese drywall case, or your firm is interested in being involved in the litigation, please contact us for further discussion.
[UPDATE 10/20/09] I am now involved with several other firms handling toxic chinese drywall problems in the Chinese Drywall Attorney Alliance at www.ChineseDrywallAttorneyAlliance.com]