Chinese Drywall is all the rage in construction news across Florida, Louisiana and the Gulf South. While some reports have discussed builder liability, the majority of news coverage relates to the potential health effects of the imported drywall and the class actions being filed by plaintiffs attorneys across the country.
All of this news and activity leaves two things curiously out of the conversation:
1) How are homeowners going to get this drywall out of their homes; and
2) Should builders be called upon to replace the defective materials and damages?
Class Actions Aren’t Getting the Drywall Out
Right now, class action attorneys across the Gulf South are collecting names for mega-product liability lawsuits that could last for years. In the interim, however, the class action suits aren’t likely to get the Chinese Drywall out of homes.
So, what are homeowners doing about getting the drywall wall out of their property? What can they do?
Well, unfortunately, the answer to this question leads to the next section of this post, and precisely the reason we’re asking whether builders are getting a ‘free pass’ on Chinese Drywall claims.
It seems that realistically, the only way a homeowner is going to get rid of defective drywall is to either (a) replace it themselves; or (b) contract their builder and make a warranty claim.
The class-actions are focusing on product liability claims against the mega-manufacturers, and therefore, are not assisting their clients with option (b). Since they are tied up in class action litigation, this could leave homeowners literally stuck with the less desirable option (a).
Where Builders Fit In
Builders, local suppliers and other involved parties – while victims themselves – appear to be largely slipping through the cracks in this Chinese Drywall crisis.
Granted, some large builder outfits like Lennar Co. have been involved with litigation, and have even taken the initiative to repair defective drywall. In large part, however, perhaps due to the direction of press on imported drywall, it seems that affected homeowners are contacting class action attorneys and not their contractors.
Should builders be at the center of Chinese Drywall complaints? And notwithstanding this question, should homeowners be at least contacting their builders to take advantage of their warranties, their builders’ insurance policies and more?
More to come…