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300 Chinese Drywall Cases Settle

A settlement and some relief for a few of the many homeowners with homes made with Chinese drywall was announced on October 15. Three hundred homes in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi will be repaired under the settlement reached with drywall manufacturer Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT) and several other companies. Knauf Plasterboard is said to be responsible for about one-fifth of the tainted drywall in the country.

According to a report by The Miami Herald, the settlement will cover costs for the homeowners that include a re-build of the interior of their homes, relocation costs and attorneys fees. However, there are some strict limitations on the settlement. According to the parties' agreement, for a homeowner to qualify, at least 95% of the drywall in their home must have come from KPT.

For those plaintiffs who were part of a class action in Miami-Dade County, any homeowner with a smaller percentage of Knauf drywall in the home must reimburse the company for that proportion of repairs. Making for further difficulties, is the lack of evidence showing how much drywall is in each home. According to The Herald, in South Florida, some homes were built with a mix of KPT drywall and with materials from other companies. To further complicate matters, some drywall distributors say they don't have records that would show which kind of drywall was delivered to which homes during their construction.

The percentage based solution proposed in this settlement is already causing difficulties for some of the plaintiffs. Although he calls the pilot program an important step forward, attorney Victor Diaz has some reservations about the settlement and is still in negotiation with KPT on behalf of his clients, who are part of the Miami-Dade class action. "As one of the epicenters of this crisis, it's important that Miami-Dade be included and on the same terms as everybody else. If 50 percent of the drywall contaminated 100 percent of the house, why shouldn't they reimburse 100 percent of the cost?'' Diaz told The Herald.

KPT has identified about 40 homes which the company could begin repairing as soon as Monday, October 18. About 300 others will likely be a part of the first group set for repairs. If the repairs on the initial group of homes go smoothly, Knauf would consider repairing hundreds more, attorney Gregory Wallance told The Herald.

This settlement agreement will not affect every lawsuit and claim. According to The Herald, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin is the only manufacturer of defective board that has responded to U.S. court proceedings.

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