Miami, Florida – On May 27, 2009, the Multi District Litigation (MDL) Panel heard argument for consolidating thousands of Chinese Drywall lawsuits throughout the United States. In an order that was entered on June 15, 2009, the MDL selected the Eastern District of Louisiana Federal United States District Court. The MDL Panel selected experienced trial Judge Eldon E. Fallon to oversee the cases. A pre trial conference has been set for July 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm at Judge Fallon’s courtroom, Room C-468, United States Courthouse, 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans Louisiana. 100,000 cases from across the nation are expected to be consolidated for pretrial matters and discovery in the dry wall litigation that has impacted homeowners throughout the country. Florida is expected to have 35,000 cases filed within the next year regarding this problem. “This is the largest construction defect case in the history of the United States and consumers need help now,” said Ervin A. Gonzalez, one of Florida’s leading lawyers that have been representing hundreds of homeowners with dry wall problems. “By consolidating the cases, the Court will allow for the more efficient and effective handling of these claims. Ultimately it should reduce the expense involved in litigating the cases and should promote global resolutions of these claims.”
The Court will likely select an Executive committee for the Plaintiffs and Defendants to run the litigation on behalf of all interested parties and soon after require a joint case management plan to be submitted that outlines the parties’ pleading and practice schedule as well as the proposed discovery schedule. Given that many of the Defendants are from foreign countries like China and Germany and were served under The Hague Convention requirements, the Court may attempt to simplify and streamline the service and notice requirements on the foreign corporate parties in order to keep the cost of litigation down and to speed up the process.
As early as 2007 many homeowners who moved into their newly constructed homes began to notice strong “rotten egg” odors in their homes. They also noticed that many of their new appliances were failing, wiring was corroding, air-conditioning coils needed replacing and they began to experience headaches, sore throats, nose bleeds and upper respiratory problems. According to the Chinese Drywall lawsuit, the culprit is alleged to be defective drywall that emits various sulfide gases and/or other chemicals through “off-gassing” that creates noxious, “rotten egg-like” odors, and causes corrosion of metals including those in air-conditioners, refrigerator coils, microwaves, faucets, utensils, copper tubing, electrical wiring, computer wiring, personal property, electronic appliances, and other metal surfaces and household items. The only solution is to “gut” the homes and remove the toxic drywall down to the studs. “Most homeowners are unable to move out because they cannot afford to pay their mortgages and the rent on another apartment or home. This is a serious matter that requires immediate attention. We will ask the Court to take prompt action in order to make the responsible parties accountable for the harm that they have caused hundreds of thousands to suffer.” Gonzalez currently represents homeowners in individual and class action litigation in state and federal court.
The homeowners are seeking compensatory damages for the direct and consequential damages caused by the defective drywall that include the cost of repair and replacement of the homeowner’s houses and personal property as well as relocation costs and other related economic expenses. The lawsuit is also seeking damages for medical monitoring to provide medical screening.