Pennsylvania Litigation Blog
Chinese-Made Drywall: Another Litigation Risk?
Builders, developers, sub-contractors, shipping companies and suppliers, importers, distributors, architects and others may potentially be impacted if litigation in this area becomes prevalent in the Northeast, as the Gulf Coast is already seeing mass tort litigation forming. In particular, it is important to review insurance policies early to ascertain whether coverage is provided in the event of a claim. Further, we recommend checking your supply chain to identify drywall sources, handling and documentation and preserve any documents involved.
There has been a great deal of discussion recently with respect to property damage and personal injury claims arising from Chinese-made drywall, which is alleged to have contamination issues causing property and personal injury damages. While the science behind this remains murky, the problem may be particularly significant as statistics show that there are approximately 600 million pounds of Chinese-made drywall in at least 60,000 homes in the U.S.A. today. Commercial applications can also be involved.
According to an April 17th article in the Wall Street Journal, “Complaints about foul smelling Chinese-made drywall that first emerged in a few dozen homes in Florida in January have spread to hundreds of homes in several states.” As we saw with mold and synthetic stucco, the science surrounding Chinese-made drywall is still being developed. CNN reported in March that the drywall is alleged to have high levels of sulfur, and that the material emits sulfur-based gases that smell of rotten eggs and corrode piping and wiring, causing electronics and appliances to fail. At this point, the Gulf Coast has been in the forefront of these claims as high temperatures and humidity are purportedly primary triggers of problems resulting from the Chinese-made drywall. The United States Consumer Products Safety Commission has posted an internet alert on Chinese drywall, noting that it has received 1,174 reports from residents in 24 states who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes are related to the presence of drywall produced in China. Consumers largely report that their homes were built in 2006 to 2007. recommend checking your supply chain to identify drywall sources, handling and documentation and preserve any documents involved.
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