In ongoing lawsuits between homeowners and manufacturers of Chinese drywall, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. On November 9, 2010, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. (KPT), a Chinese drywall manufacturer, agreed to repair as many as 300 homes in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida.
The company may also be required to repair thousands more that have been damaged by corrosive drywall. The agreement includes a remediation program that will be funded by KPT and other builders, insurers, and drywall suppliers. KPT is also required to replace all fire safety and home security equipment, along with all electrical wiring, including receptacles and switches.
Not All Homeowners Will be Compensated
Many consumers believe Congress needs to take more action to ensure Chinese companies do not continue marketing defective products here in the United States. Some homeowners may not be entitled to compensation because they purchased drywall from Chinese companies who are ignoring the United States courts and lawsuits. The only way around the problem is to prevent these manufacturers from selling in the U.S.
Update on Lowe’s Settlement Offer
In the past, Lowe’s Companies Inc. has agreed to reimburse customers with gift cards in $50, $250 or $2,000, depending on the homeowner’s ability to properly document and prove their losses. If the consumer could show more than $2,000 worth of damage, they would also be entitled to an additional $2,500 cash.
Recently the company increased the offer to a maximum of $100,000 in response to the charge that some homes would require that much to repair. If Lowe’s offer is accepted, the company will be exempt from the class action lawsuit underway. The agreement cannot be finalized until Super Court Judge Bobby Peters hears arguments both for and against the settlement coming in the next few days.
Health Questions Persist at Fort Bragg
Most recently, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission performed testing at Fort Bragg for contaminated building materials. In three years, ten children aged two weeks to eight months have died from mysterious illness. It is suspected that Chinese drywall may have been to blame.
Although the recent tests revealed nothing significant to cause the deaths, previous testing showed the tainted drywall was present. In addition, some parents of the deceased infants reported that the deaths were preceded by breathing and skin problems. In some cases, they reported a “rotten eggs” smell permeating the home, which is similar to experiences by people whose homes have been built with imported Chinese drywall.
It is believed that the contaminated drywall was brought into this country sometime between 2004 and 2008. Unfortunately, some believe that many more companies than previously thought actually knew about the defective product as early as 2006 but remained silent in order to protect their money.