The Chinese drywall issue has surely frustrated many in the Gulf Coast region. With rotten egg, sulfuric smells filling many newly built or renovated homes, homeowners are forced to flee or put up with a very problematic issue that no person should have to handle. The lawsuits regarding this issue have been both understandable and uphill as just who is responsible has been a difficult matter. While trying to stay optimistic, the Miami Herald recently outlined the difficulties in which plaintiffs and their clients face trying to pursue damages from overseas manufacturers for their faulty products.
Chinese manufacturers made more than half of the goods that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled last year, but few of them paid any price for producing defective wares.
The long list of faulty products included Chinese-made highchairs whose seat backs failed, steam cleaners that burned their users, bikes whose front-wheel forks broke, saunas that overheated, illuminated exit signs that stopped working when commercial power failed, dune buggies whose seat belts broke on impact and coffee makers that overheated and started fires.
It also included loosely knotted soccer goal nets that entrapped and strangled a child and a toy chest whose poorly supported lid fell on a toddler’s neck and killed him, according to CPSC filings.
The difficulty in recovering damages is a lesson that U.S. homeowners who are stuck with defective and possibly toxic Chinese drywall are likely to learn in the coming months. Builders installed the drywall in 2004 and 2005 when the home building boom outstripped U.S. drywall supplies. The CPSC and the Environmental Protection Agency are investigating the consequences.
While everyone involved is likely to be sued — installers, contractors, distributors, importers and Chinese manufacturers — the last are the hardest to reach by far.
This should not be seen as a condemnation of future litigatory pursuits but, rather, a dose of realism that a suit may face difficulty. While some may see this is as an open and shut case of poor business actions, the international factor and various mitigatory matters involved may indeed cause problems.
The Berniard Law Firm has been closely following this issue. While difficulties may arise, this blog will work hard to show both sides of the matter and inform anyone of the complexities involved and the rights that do, in fact, exist for those looking for compensation for the harms they have faced. Bookmark this blog using your respective browser or frequently check in for more information on this issue as it becomes available.