The seven Virginia families who sued for Chinese drywall damage to their homes received a $2.6 million court judgment yesterday against Taishan Gypsum Company Ltd., a Chinese state-owned drywall manufacturer. This ruling was the first of many pending cases from around the country that have been consolidated in New Orleans District Court under Judge Eldon E. Fallon.
As quoted by Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly, Attorney Serpe, who represented the Virginia plaintiffs, called Judge Fallon’s decision “monumental.” He also told the Wall Street Journal that it “gives tremendous guidance and…goes well beyond the seven families that were involved,” because it will serve as a template for the resolution of the many other pending toxic drywall cases.
The Wall Street Journal further explains:
Judge Fallon ordered Taishan Gypsum, which never answered the complaint nor appeared at any U.S. hearing, to remove and replace all the drywall, copper plumbing, air conditioning and ventilation units, insulation and electrical wiring, as well as flooring in affected homes.
The judge also ordered Taishan to pay for the relocation of homeowners for four to six months while their homes are being repaired, even in homes only partly built with tainted material. Judge Fallon set aside health claims for later trials.
In his 108-page decision, Judge Fallon wrote in part…
[T]o make the Plaintiff-intervenors whole, they must be awarded a remedy which replaces all drywall, the electrical, electronic, and HVAC systems in the home, copper pipes in the home, and other copper and silver components in the home. The remedy also must provide a written guarantee to the owner from a certified environmental company that the home is free of contamination and damaged corroded components. Furthermore, in order to make the plaintiff intervenors whole, they must be awarded compensation for damaged personal property and other compensable damages as specified herein.
Judge Fallon’s opinion also contains a detailed discussion of the harm each family suffered and how he calculated the specific damage awards.
Local Norfolk TV aired this report on this court ruling: