Chinese drywall brings attorneys together in Florida

In an effort to share ideas and strategies on the Chinese drywall issue, lawyers from across the country are meeting in Florida to discuss this matter. Aaron Kessler of the Herald Tribune reports

Attorneys from all sides of the tainted Chinese drywall issue descended Thursday on Orlando for a two-day conference dedicated to the growing problem — now apparently international — and the lawsuits stemming from it.

The conference, sponsored by HarrisMartin Publishing, drew more than 200 attorneys — bringing together everyone from those representing struggling homeowners to builders and insurance companies to drywall manufacturers themselves. High-powered class action lawyers traded jibes with their counterparts on the defense side — some good-hearted, some not so gentle — and all wondered just how the drywall issue would ultimately get resolved.

The conference came as four U.S. senators on the powerful Appropriations Committee, including its chairman, sent the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission a letter directing it to use $2 million from its budget to move forward with immediate testing aimed at determining the root of the problem once and for all — something the CPSC has said it was already planning to do. Federal investigators have been on the ground in recent weeks, including at a Lakewood Ranch home, and this week they stepped up further testing conducted at homes in Florida.

While cynics might think this is an effort for lawyers to share how they are going to extend the issue in the court room or how to make this situation make them money, it’s also important to see that finding common ground amongst the different sides of this issue can greatly increase the chances of settlement and reasonable cooperation. By familiarizing themselves with the circumstances, hopefully these attorneys will be able to work together outside of the courtroom to make sure both sides of the matter get what can be considered fair.

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