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Lawsuits Fly Over Chinese Drywall

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, February 03, 2009 1:25 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Chinese Drywall, Plasterboard, Chinese Imports, Environmental Health, Gypsum, Class-Action

Two class action lawsuits now the builder is suing suppliers over Chinese wallboard.

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IMAGE SOURCE: Sarasota Herald Tribune Web site / image of Kristin Culliton, resident of Taylor Morrison home

The lawsuits are beginning to fly concerning the construction of Florida homes made with drywall from China.

Lennar Corporation, a Miami-based homebuilder since 1954, is suing manufacturers, suppliers, and installers who helped build homes with the sulfur-smelling wallboard, according to the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

The paper reports that the Sarasota class-action is led by plaintiff Kristin Culliton, a Lakewood Ranch resident who lived in a Taylor Morrison-built home, another builder which also reportedly used the drywall from China.

Another class-action has been filed by homeowners in North Fort Myers, Florida.

Residents say the gasses emitted from their walls are harming their health and corroding pipes and wiring, and they must evacuate.

But one supplier of wallboard from China, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd, a Chinese subsidiary of German-based Knauf, says the board is safe and the company is being made a scapegoat.

Lennar filed suit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court suing Knauf and Taishan for shipping the drywall to Florida over a two year period beginning in 2006.

Lennar says in the lawsuit that Knauf, “either knew or should have known that this drywall was defective and not appropriate for use in homes,” according to Lennar’s general counsel, Mark Sustana.

In all, Lennar is charging eight drywall suppliers and a dozen subcontractors who installed the defective wallboard. The suit seeks damages to the builder’s reputation as well as costs associated with the problem.

Drywall is a building material used to make interior walls and ceilings. It is primarily gypsum wrapped in paper, but the core can also have added fiber, plasticizers, foaming agents, potash, and various other ingredients to decrease mildew and increase fire resistance.

According to The Gypsum Association, wallboard is made according to the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) standard that requires marking of wallboard.

ASTM standard C1264 states that under a purchasing agreement, samples of gypsum panel should be taken at the place of manufacture or at the destination.

“Inspection of the gypsum panel products shall be agreed upon between the purchaser and the producer of supplier as part of the purchase agreement,” an Abstract of the rule states.

The extent of the problem is unknown but at least 80 homes in Southwest Florida have been identified, according to the heraldtribune.com.

Enough Chinese drywall shipments to build 36,000 homes landed in Florida ports, the paper reports, half of what was imported from that country nationwide. #


6 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by Connie Baker
Thursday, February 05, 2009 8:37 AM EST

How can I search if my builder used Chinese Drywall.
My property is in Tradition, St Lucie FL. Property in Bedford Community, Hanover Homes is the builder.

Thank you.
Connie

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:18 PM EST

Connie-

Do you have a reason to believe the builder used drywall from China? Is there an overpowering sulfur smell? Since the builder or contractor must purchase the drywall and there is a record, start there- ask them to verify the source of the drywall... But if you don't smell a problem there probably isn't any. Thanks for writing... Let us know what happens...
Bes-
Jane Akre

Anonymous User
Posted by Doug
Friday, February 06, 2009 11:13 AM EST

If possible, get into the attic and pull back some insulation to expose the drywall. The words "Knauf" or even "China" in some case are stamped on the "grey side" which would be the side facing up into the attic. You may have to search around for a bit but you will eventually end up seeing something.

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, February 06, 2009 11:46 AM EST

Thanks Doug-

Are you in the construction industry? What are the standards generally for accepting foreign made wallboard since they may not comply with US specs?

Thanks
Jane Akre

PS- the question may be what are the standards versus what is actually done!?

Anonymous User
Posted by Wally
Saturday, February 21, 2009 12:35 PM EST

The sulfur emissions from the drywall will turn copper black. So check wiring inside light switch and outlet boxes, exposed wiring in the box will be black. Look under sinks to see if the copper waterline is black (sometimes the waterline under a sink is plastic. Look at your water heater and see if any copper there is black. And the most obvious place to look is in in your central air conditioner evaporator coil and see if its copper tuning is black. Under normal conditions the copper will turn green, not black.

Posted by Gary Becklund
Sunday, March 08, 2009 12:06 PM EST

I have not used my condo for any period until this year. My metals are tuning black, my daughter is here with two infants, who, have been to three doctors with diarrhea, ear problems, and flu like symtoms. My other daughter also had the same symtoms. What do I do? We paid premium prices for a supposedly premium residence.

Comments for this article are closed.

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