Toxic chinese drywall that was installed in many Louisiana homes has been discovered to emit sulfur, methane, and other toxins. The drywall is thought to be responsible for homeowner’s health problems and a variety of damage to household appliances. Just recently, a federal judge in New Orleans awarded several homeowners $2.6 million against Chinese drywall manufacturer Taishan Gypsum Co. However, collecting this judgment may prove difficult. If you considering litigation as an option to obtaining the money you need to repair the damage Chinese drywall has caused your home, you are not alone.
While Chinese Law Makes Collecting Judgments Against Toxic Drywall Manufacturer Difficult, there are Options for Homeowners
According to Gordon Gao , a partner in a Beijing firm, it is often very difficult to collect judgments against Chinese companies that were awarded to plaintiffs in US courts.
“‘In general, collecting on a U.S. judgment [in China] is difficult if not impossible,’ says Gordon Gao … Chinese law, he explains, only permits the enforcement of foreign judgments through bilateral treaties. But China doesn’t actually have any such treaties with other countries.”
This means that US courts do not have the power to reach across our nation’s boundaries and force Chinese companies to pay out the damages awarded to US plaintiffs in US courts. However, there are options for New Orleans homeowners hoping to collect from Chinese companies. It is possible that plaintiff’s attorneys can try to have ships carrying Taishan Gypsum Co. products seized. Doing so would allow the courts to decide if the ships may be claimed for their value and sold in order for the plaintiffs to collect their judgments. The ships must be located in US waters at the time of seizure.
If You Installed Tainted Drywall In Your Home, You May Be Able to Sue the Manufacturer for Breach of Implied Warranty or Negligence
Even if you do not have a written warranty from the drywall manufacturer, you may still be able to establish a breach of the implied warranty of “Merchantability.”
Implied Warranty of Merchantability
The Uniform Commercial Code provides that any sales contract that involves a merchant/seller implies a warranty of merchantability without the need for an express contractual agreement. However, in order for this theory to apply, a seller must not have disclaimed it in a written sales contract.
In order to be “merchantable” good must meet several requirements including that the goods must be fit for the ordinary purpose for which such goods are used. Therefore, if you have bought tainted drywall, you may have a case against the manufacturer under a theory of “Implied Warranty of Merchantability.” The drywall you purchase should be “fit” for the purpose of installing in a building. Drywall that exposes occupants of the building to toxins would likely fail to meet this standard.
All the same, it is important to note that the Implied Warranty of Merchantability does not guarantee that the goods must be of the highest quality. Instead, the goods must be of a high enough quality to make them suitable for the purpose for which they were designed. In order to bring a lawsuit, the defect in the good must be a result of a manufacturing flaw, a design defect, or fail to give adequate warnings. Thus, if the toxins in the drywall originated due to an error or negligence on the part of the Chinese manufacturer, you may be able to show a breach of this implied warranty.
Generally, a seller can be held liable for negligence if the seller’s product is defective and can be reasonably expected to cause substantial harm to any foreseeable product users. In order to establish a claim for negligence, you must be able to show that the Chinese drywall seller owed a specific duty to you, that the seller breached that duty, that there is a causal connection between the sellers conduct and the injury, and that you suffered damage or injury from the breach.
Under products liability law, a seller has the duty to provide a reasonably safe product in design and manufacture. Thus, the sale of toxic drywall that must be removed from a home due to health concerns likely establishes a breach of this duty to provide a “reasonably safe product.” In addition, if you establish that the defendant’s sale of the defective drywall has caused you damage. Damage may include things such as negative health effects from exposure to the drywall’s toxins, money expended to replace the drywall, and potentially costs associated with finding housing during drywall replacement.
If you have faced problems associated with toxic Chinese drywall installed in your home, contact the Berniard Law Firm at 1-866-574-8005 or visit us at our website for help. Our experienced attorneys can help you protect your rights.