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FEDERAL CLASS ACTION FILED AGAINST MANUFACTURER, DISTRIBUTOR OF DEFECTIVE
Victims Seek Compensation and Medical Monitoring in Significant Product
MIAMI - April 1, 2009 - Attorneys with Higer Lichter Givner, The Blumstein
Law Firm and Podhurst Orseck have filed a federal class action on behalf of
Florida homeowners Janet Morris-Chin and Dajan Green against the foreign
manufacturer of defective Chinese drywall, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co.
Ltd., and the foreign company that distributed it in the United States,
Rothchilt Int'l., LTD.
Drywall manufactured in China was used in thousands of homes built in the
United States during the building boom between 2004 and 2007. The lawsuit
claims toxic chemicals that emanate from the drywall have damaged houses,
fixtures and personal property rendering the homes unsafe and uninhabitable.
In addition to receiving relief for the damages to their property, members
of the class action are seeking medical monitoring for the adverse effects
of prolonged exposure to the toxic chemicals.
"We have filed a national class action because more than 60,000 homes in 13
states are believed to have defective Chinese drywall," said Victor M. Diaz
with Podhurst Orseck. "We anticipate that when the Consumer Products Safety
Commission completes its investigation, this product will be recalled across
the country. This could be potentially one of the largest product liability
cases related to home construction in U.S. history."
Morris-Chin and Green purchased their home in a Homestead, Fla. community
developed by a national builder in 2006. Shortly after, they began noticing
damage from the defective drywall around the new house. An air-conditioning
coil was completely black and iced over when it should have been
copper-colored and ice-free. Two home computers suddenly stopped working and
the wiring in the nearby outlets was found to be covered in black soot. The
family developed physical symptoms including respiratory ailments and
"When certain chemical compounds in the drywall are exposed to moisture and
react with other chemicals found in the houses, they create noxious
chemicals that overwhelm the homes with unpleasant odors and lead to costly
damages," said Jacob Givner with Higer Lichter Givner. "For many homeowners
this situation has become dire. They have been forced to flee their homes
and secure rental housing. They are falling behind in their mortgage
payments and worried about the unknown health effects from being exposed to
the toxic chemicals."
Members of the class action claim they have incurred economic damages and
are entitled to recover monetary damages for the replacement and repair of
their homes; the removal and replacement of all of the drywall; the
replacement of other property (air conditioner and refrigerator coils,
microwaves, faucets, utensils, copper tubing, electrical wiring, computer
wiring, personal property, electronic appliances, and other metal surfaces
and household items); and the repair and replacement of any material
contaminated or corroded by the drywall.
The class members have also incurred significant costs to move out of their
homes and find temporary housing until their homes are remediated, said Mark
Blumstein of The Blumstein Law Firm.
"Not only are these families unable to enjoy their new homes, but the
properties have lost value due to the stigma of having defective drywall,"
he said. "For some members of the class action, the consequential damages
include the loss of the home to foreclosure because they've been unable to
pay their mortgages while also paying for safe-haven housing."
In February 2009, the law firms of Higer Lichter & Givner and The Blumstein
Law Firm were the first to file a class action in state court on behalf of
Florida residents who purchased new homes constructed with the defective
drywall. A special phone line has been set up for those seeking information
on the issue: 305-356-7549. Information also is available online at
Wragg & Casas Public Relations
1000 Brickell Avenue, Suite 400
Miami, Florida 33131
Charles Jones/Joann Adkins