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It’s possible that as many as 100,000 manufactured homes nationwide may have been built using defective Chinese drywall. The Florida Department of Health has received over 150 reports from South Florida residents. Lawsuits have been reported in Florida, Alabama, California, Mississippi, Virginia, Texas, and Louisiana.

Health issues due to the defective drywall have plagued many Florida residents and have forced them out of their new homes. Health officials are concerned that the Chinese drywall fumes could be especially dangerous for children or the elderly. Other people at risk include asthma and allergy sufferers and people with chemical sensitivities.

According to the press release made by Congressman Wexler it states that he has introduced the Drywall Safety Act of 2009 , which “requires the Consumer Product and Safety Commission to examine Chinese drywall and make recommendations as to whether new safety standards are necessary to ensure drywall is safe for use in residential construction”. The legislation also establishes an “immediate ban on any drywall that constitutes a safety hazard”. There has also been other legislation introduced by Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

How do I know if I have defective Chinese drywall installed in my home?

The majority of complaints and class action lawsuits reported are from Florida residents who live in homes with the defective drywall installed and that live in homes built during the housing boom that occurred from 2002-2006 (a few as early as 2001).

Defective Chinese drywall may be installed in a home if the following is experienced:
  • A sulfurous odor, often described as the smell of rotten eggs apparent, especially when windows and doors are closed and the water is not running. Some people say there is no smell, but still have the Chinese drywall installed
  • Failing air conditioning coils that contain black residue
  • Deterioration of home wiring, electrical outlets can be checked for blackened wires.
  • Corrosion of copper pipes can be seen in outlets, under sinks, and behind refrigerators.
  • Brass, chrome, and silver can be affected. This can be seen on tarnished bathroom and kitchen faucets and drains
  • The letters KNAUF may be will written on the back of the drywall – this identifies the manufacturer
  • Chinese drywall is lighter and thinner than regular drywall
  • Allergy attacks
  • Nose Bleeds
  • Upper respiratory problems
  • Headaches
  • Sore Throat
  • Dizzy spells
  • Insomnia
  • Swollen joints
  • Irritated eyes
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • When leaving the home for an extended period of time, physical  ailments disappear
  • Staying in bed for long periods of time
Who Can Sue?

Builders known to be dealing with the drywall problem are Lennar Corp., Standard Pacific Homes, Taylor Morrison, WCI Communities, Ryland Homes, Aubuchon Homes, and Meritage Homes.

Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd. is one of the Chinese manufacturers that sold defective Chinese drywall to home builders such as Lennar Corporation. Knauf has stated the problem should only be happening in Florida its drywall does not pose a threat to residents living in affected homes.  Knauf also blames wiring and corrosion problems as the fault of another company although they do not mention the name.

One of the most recent cases involves five Miami couples claiming that their homes in Lennar’s Tuscany Village were built using defective Chinese drywall and Miami law firm Alters, Boldt, Brown, Rash, Culmo have filed federal and circuit court civil suits in the family’s behalf. The lawsuit involves both Lennar and Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin along with seven other companies.

Lennar Corporation is also suing the U.S. suppliers that shipped the Chinese drywall and has initiated a program to do inspections and remove drywall which is about a six month process.

Michael Thomas Martin fraud conviction

Michael Thomas Martin preyed upon people affected by the imported Chinese drywall by selling unregistered securities and violating disclosure regulations. Martin convinced 41 people to invest in a failed cafe in northern Idaho.

Martin was sentenced to almost four years in prison. He ended up only serving two of the years and released in 2000 after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud in 1998.

Potential Recovery

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Lennar is testing several Florida developments and is coordinating with state health department to analyze the results.

Lennar Corporation is also suing the U.S. suppliers that shipped the Chinese drywall and has initiated a program to do inspections and remove drywall which is about a six month process during which time, Lennar has arranged for several families to be relocated while the drywall is replaced in their homes.

It is important that homeowners in Florida contact the home builder and try to resolve any drywall complaints. Florida law (Chapter 558) states the complaints must be discussed before filing any litigation.

Interesting Facts
  • During the housing boom, housing manufacturers were facing a major drywall shortage and to keep up with demands, ended up building new homes using the imported Chinese drywall instead.
  • Some homeowner lawsuits allege that builders knew the Chinese drywall was defective, but the Florida Home Builders Association in Tallahassee says it has no evidence to suggest that any of its 14,000 members used the product while knowing it was inferior.
  • Around the time that hurricane Katrina hit, there was a severe shortage of drywall and in New Orleans the defective drywall has been installed in many of the cities.
  • This specific drywall is made of waste from coal-fired plants. The material that wouldn't burn was recycled into the drywall instead of being taken to a landfill.
  • AMRC, an environmental engineering and testing company states the problem is mainly found in communities, not single family residences.
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