Times-Picayune features unfavorable Chinese drywall lawsuit status

A very good front-page piece came out in today’s Times-Picayune summarizing the difficulties faced by homeowners in Louisiana in regards to suing for the installation of Chinese drywall put in their homes. Featuring a timeline of the various tort reforms enacted over the years in Louisiana, the piece will give those not in the know about the legislative enactments over the year an idea of what processes could have been available and just how much those doors have been closed.

The feature, available online and, again, in today’s paper, recounts

Back in 1996, the Louisiana Legislature passed one of the nation’s most aggressive tort reform acts to fulfill a campaign promise of then-newly elected Gov. Mike Foster to improve Louisiana’s business climate.

But today, as an estimated 4,000 to 7,000 Louisiana households face financial ruin because tainted drywall from China is corroding people’s homes and making them sick, critics say the legislation will prevent local homeowners from making a full financial recovery.

“We took that away from the consumer. We say, ‘Sorry, you’re going to have to sue the manufacturer in China.’ That puts people in Louisiana at a huge disadvantage,” said state Sen. Julie Quinn, a Republican from Metairie. “We threw the consumer under the bus under the purview of ‘Hey, this will attract business to Louisiana.’ All we did was hurt the consumer.”

The article is significant in size but well worth the read if you or someone you know has had to deal with Chinese drywall in their home. Even if that’s not the case, the story is a very well put together piece on legal reform in Louisiana and is highly recommended. Of note is the poignant and direct problem facing lawsuits filed on behalf of homeowners against builders who put Chinese drywall into their construction efforts

So if a court determines that manufacturers are responsible for 80 percent of the Chinese drywall problem, while the American companies that handled the product upon import are responsible for 20 percent, homeowners only stand a chance to collect 20 percent of their losses.

“If for some reason I can’t collect money from there, I’m out of luck because I can’t look to the other defendants to pick up the slack,” Childress said. “This is a very pro-defendant, pro-corporate change in the law.”

Chinese drywall victims from states such as Florida, where tort reform measures were less aggressive, could recover more of their losses.

Enjoy your Thursday.

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