Archive for June, 2010

CHINESE DRYWALL LITIGATION

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

June 24, 2010

In the last few weeks judges in Louisiana and Florida are adjudicating drywall cases and finding in favor of the plaintiffs. What this means to the industry could be significant, of course, but what it means to the plaintiff is, in our opinion, more significant—BECAUSE there is no contractor who can do the work with the proper insurance. That’s a problem!

“A Florida family has been awarded $2.46 million in the first Chinese drywall lawsuit to be heard by a jury. The decision was seen by some as a ‘bellwether’ case, which could forecast how other juries may respond to similar evidence that will be presented in other trials over Chinese drywall that has caused problems for homeowners throughout the United States.”

“Earlier this year in the Federal MDL, Judge Fallon awarded $164,000 to a Louisiana family that filed a Chinese drywall lawsuit against Knauf. The ruling equated to about $81 per square foot. Since that ruling, Knauf has begun seeking settlements with U.S. builders who bought their drywall.”

“Judge Fallon has also issued a ruling that awarded $2.6 million to seven Virginia families who filed a lawsuit against China-based Taishan Gypsum Co. over drywall problems. However, it is unclear how the families will collect, since China does not acknowledge civil lawsuit judgments in the U.S., and the company did not send a representative to court to answer the charges.”

So, here are the problems: 1) how many appeals will be filed to slow down the payback process, 2) how are they going to collect from the defendants, if they even will, and 3) if they can get the work down for the awarded amount, WHO is insured to do the work and what protocol will they follow?

The first two questions are, of course, the most difficult. We are dealing with an international community (so political pressures are great) and a country (China) to whom we are incredibly indebted (according to U.S. treasury nearly $755.4 billion at last year’s end). There is little doubt that the plaintiffs are in for a very long fight.

The third question, however, is being addressed by NORMIPro Management (www.NORMIProMgmt.com) and its team of experts. With engineers, IAQ specialists, laboratories, Remediators, assessors, and insurance professionals on board, NORMIPro Management will soon introduce solutions that could give hope to the plaintiffs in two areas: 1) that they will be able to do the work for less that the amount of money they’ve been awarded and, 2) that those who do the work will have the proper insurance.

The third piece of the NORMIPro Management package that may be in place shortly is an insured guarantee that the problems will be solved and solved permanently. Following proper IAQ Management techniques and the NORMI Sanitization Protocol, which helped hundreds of homeowners following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, these Chinese Drywall issues can be resolved and resolved permanently.

There is hope for the victims of Chinese Drywall and it may not be in the court system. This hope may soon find its way into the marketplace…where it should be!

Corrosive Chinese Drywall Insurance

Monday, June 14th, 2010

One of the most interesting things about the Corrosive Chinese Drywall problems is the lack of professionals who are able to actually work on the projects. Many insurance companies are sending letters to their insured contractors EXCLUDING any work on this drywall. What does that mean to the homeowner or property owner who wants to hire a contractor to remediate the drywall? It’s not good news. Read on…

Recently a U.S. District judge, Judge Eldon Fallon, found in favor of seven plantiffs and awarded them each a large sum of money to remediate their Corrosive Chinese Drywall from their homes. I’m certain they were relieved that FINALLY someone is saying this can be fixed. However, the judge, with the best of intentions, no doubt, made an unprecedented move by going further into the construction process and actually required specific actions be taken in the remediation process. Though never trained as a remediator in a state that licenses them, this judge mandated that all the electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC system needed to be removed–remediate down to the studs. On what basis he determined that is puzzling to those of us who have studied this issue in great depth with teams of experts but it seems obvious he was taking the most conservative position and the safest route for the remediation. You can’t fault him for stepping up but it has presented the homeowners with a major issue–namely, WHO is going to do the work?

If insurance companies have decided they will not cover this remediation work, what contractor in his right mind would accept the contract? Who, with this case law, wants to assume ANY liability? More importantly, what homeowner would hire a contractor who didn’t have the proper coverage. Hense, the dilemma. The homeowner has some money to get the work started but no contractor to actually do the work. And are the homeowners going to do the work themselves without ANY training in PPE, S-520, or NYC Guideline protocols? What a mess.

At NORMI we are concerned about making sure that homeowners are properly protected from the health and safety concerns surrounding Corrosive Chinese Drywall. We know that only when they are able to use licensed and insured professionals will they be able to get the job done correctly and save the heartache that could follow from choosing poorly.

Very soon NORMI will have protocols in place that will lead the homeowner down the right path and help them choose wisely. Until then, bookmark this blog and/or send your questions to support@normi.org. DON’T make a decision that could make matters worse. You’ve suffered enough…we’d like to give you some answers!