Chinese drywall illustrates problems in federal laws

In a very well written and important Times-Picayune article, writer Rebecca Mowbray reports that the recent problems being caused by Chinese drywall in courtrooms goes beyond simple construction or building code and law and into the depths of federal laws regarding international products. Because of this faulty imported wallboard, Mowbray points out, huge problems in the law and remedy for faulty products have been exposed. While many have followed this matter for its importance to builders and homeowners, business and legal experts now see it as a crucial, highly important matter that demonstrates work needs to be done on the United States’ federal legal system.

The article explains

International trade agreements treat health and safety standards as barriers to commerce, and make it possible for manufacturers to hawk products that fall short of the importing country’s standards. Meanwhile, foreign companies that sell products in U.S. markets aren’t required to participate in litigation in American courts, and even if they did, there’s no means of enforcing U.S. legal judgments against them.

As a result, many of the foreign companies named in the consolidated Chinese drywall litigation in New Orleans are expected to blow off the proceedings, as illustrated Sept. 24 when U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon held manufacturer Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. in contempt of court for failing to respond. Others, such as the German company Knauf Gips, have argued that the proper venue is the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

While a bit lengthy, the article is a very good read for those wishing to understand why it may be quite some time before any legal resolution results from the proceedings in this matter. Anyone with more questions about Chinese drywall litigation can read the various blog posts we have posted on the matter here. To find out more from an attorney, feel free to contact our offices to speak to a legal expert on the matter.

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