During the pretrial coordination taking place in New Orleans regarding the Chinese drywall class actions taking place across the country, a judge has recently indicated steering committees may be named soon. These committees, one for the collective defenses and one for all of the plaintiffs, are comprised of attorneys within the respective sides and work towards strategy and motion filing. The steering committees are so important because, when matters such as an MDL come down, the various different attorneys from across the country need a coordinated approach to the pre-trial motions because what occurs there affects each of their cases, across the country.
Some of the many Chinese drywall lawsuits might be seeing a courtroom in as early as six months. The HeraldTribune.com reported that prominent Judge Eldon E. Fallon, who is overseeing “the combined litigation” taking place in New Orleans, is preparing to announce the legal leads for both sides-—so-called “steering committees”—said the HeraldTribune.com.
The HeraldTribune.com noted that Judge Fallon is best known for his handling of the recent Vioxx litigation. “He is the guru among all federal judges for handling MDLs fast, quick and fairly to both sides,” said a New Orleans attorney who argued the Vioxx case before Fallon. “The defendants respect him as much as the plaintiffs do. He doesn’t tip the scale in any direction, and he gets the job done,” quoted the HeraldTribune.com. An MDL is a Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, simply, a group of federal judges, explained the HeraldTribune.com. All Chinese drywall litigation nationwide is part of what is now MDL-2047, with Fallon presiding, explained the HeraldTribune.com.
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received more than 681 complaints from residents of 20 states regarding Chinese drywall; the majority—510—originated from Florida. Homeowners have complained that fumes from the Chinese drywall produce a “rotten eggs” odor that permeates their homes, and causes metal, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode. Eye irritation, sinus problems, and respiratory symptoms have also been reported among people living in homes containing Chinese drywall.
People with homes that have been made unbearable because of Chinese drywall can see this as good news because the quicker litigation begins, the sooner settlements may be reached or possibly verdicts that give them back a home.