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Not All Bad Drywall Comes from China—Maybe

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Las Vegas, NVThat smelly, home-destroying drywall that is creating havoc for thousands of Americans is not just a product of China. "I think the proper name for it may be toxic drywall," says attorney Craig Fuller. "We have found that some of this toxic drywall is manufactured by American companies."

Fuller Jenkins is currently amending the complaint it filed on behalf of about a dozen homeowners in Nevada to reflect that new information. "One of the companies that we have named in the suit is a company called Georgia-Pacific out of Atlanta," says Fuller. "We allege that they used the same type of process to manufacture drywall as was used in the manufacture of the drywall from China."

Georgia-Pacific has made no official comment yet on the allegation in response to Fuller's filing.

"Georgia-Pacific tells me they do not import drywall from China," says Fuller. "However, they do use coal fly ash in the manufacture of their drywall and fly ash is believed to be the material that is the main cause of the problem."

The Nevada homeowners represented by Craig Fuller and his firm are having the same types of problems as other homeowners with drywall made in China. "Blackening of wires, blackening of air condition coils, blackening of light switch plates, they have all the classic complaints associated with toxic drywall," says Fuller. "Some report health problems such as nose bleeds, headaches and asthma attacks."

Any lawyer who is currently handling a toxic drywall case for a client will tell you the story is a complex one. "We are still trying to find who all the toxic drywall manufacturers are and investigating problems with the homes," explains Fuller.

"Our investigators use a boroscope to get a look at the back of the drywall where the manufacturer's name is stamped. You punch a hole in the wall and insert a long tube with a little camera and a light on the end of it."

It's a slow process and you have to hope you hit the right place and are able to see the manufacturer's stamp on the back of the drywall, says Fuller. "Chunks of drywall then have to be sent to the lab for analysis and it all takes time," he says.

Further complicating the problem is the possibility that a home may have drywall produced by two or more manufacturers. Ultimately, Fuller says finding out who the manufacturer is may be irrelevant to his clients.

"We have named the general contractor, Lennar Homes, as a defendant in the suit," says Fuller. "In my mind, they are responsible for what they put in there. Lennar built the homes, Lennar put the drywall in there, Lennar should have known to be careful about what they buy."

"If Lennar wants to later go and chase down the manufacturers that produced the drywall and sue them, then so be it," says Fuller.

Craig Fuller is a name partner in the firm of Fuller Jenkins Law. He is a graduate of the University of San Diego, School of Law (1990) and the University of San Diego. Fuller has handled more than 100 trials in a variety of forums, including employment, construction defect and personal injury cases. Fuller Jenkins has offices in La Jolla, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

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