A Virginia Beach circuit judge has refused to dismiss the couple’s claim against MetLife Insurance Company. The ruling to keep the insurer in the case as a defendant might be the first in the nation addressing whether homeowners’ insurance potentially provides coverage for drywall claims.
In their Chinese drywall lawsuit, Benjamin and Holly Proto have also sued the homebuilder and a local building materials supplier. According to the Protos who are currently living with relatives, the sulfurous-smelling imported drywall made their children sick and their home unlivable.
In legal papers, MetLife argued that the homeowners’ insurance policy in question excluded defective construction, defective materials, and pollution. But through their lawyer, the Protos responded that the policy covered personal property damage and “ensuing loss” and that the pollution exclusion only applied to environmental toxins outside the home. Certain language in the insurance policy is also ambiguous, they also asserted.
The court’s ruling only allows the case to proceed; it remains to be seen whether the plaintiffs can prove their case against any of the defendants at a trial.
Homeowners in Virginia and several other states have been particularly hard hit by Chinese drywall. If your home has a sulfur, or rotten egg smell (which among other things can wreak havoc on electrical connections), get started immediately investigating for defective drywall.
If it turns out that your home contains Chinese drywall, you need to know your legal rights. Do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, P.C. for a no-obligation Virginia Chinese drywall consultation, Toll Free 877-544-5323.