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Second Court Decision Favors Chinese Drywall Plaintiffs

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New Orleans, LAFamilies experiencing problems with homes built with defective Chinese drywall have reason for optimism: US District Judge Eldon Fallon of the Eastern District of Louisiana recently ordered Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. to compensate Tatum and Charlene Hernandez in excess of $164,000. It is the second precedent-setting court decision within a month in favor of plaintiffs suing over the use of Chinese drywall in their homes.


In April Judge Fallon found in favor of seven Virginia families who claimed that defective Chinese drywall in their homes emitted noxious fumes, turned air conditioning coils black and made some residents ill. Judge Fallon ordered Taishan Gypsum Company to pay more than $2.6 million in damages.

The victory is particularly compelling for the Hernandez family, since they used the Chinese drywall to rebuild their home following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. For them, it was one disaster after another.

According to the 5/15/10 issue of Real Estate & Investment Business, Judge Fallon was blunt in his decision, which ran 47 pages: "No reputable contractor would accept the risk of keeping copper and / or silver metal in the home after these materials existed in a corrosive environment and demonstrate significant corrosion, and neither would a reputable environmental consultant approve a remediation of the Hernandez home if the potential of continuation for such a corrosion risk remains."

As for claims by the defendant that affected families could simply eradicate the effects of the tainted drywall by scrubbing, Judge Fallon scoffed at such a notion. "It is not possible or feasible to clean the wires to render them sufficiently free of corrosion as suggested by Defendant," he wrote. "Although scrubbing the wires...may [have] removed visible signs of black corrosion film, copper sulfide corrosion remains. Moreover, it is not feasible to scrub the insulated wires to remove the corrosion under the insulation. There does not exist an approved standard or method to clean copper sulfide corrosion from electrical wiring in a home."

It could not have been a better outcome for the Hernandez family. While the family initially estimated damages and repair costs at $58,000 the court came up with a much higher number following review of the full extent of the damage and clean-up costs in order to restore the building to optimum move-in condition. To that end Judge Fallon referred to "the Court's remediation protocol" to which the Hernandez family was entitled.

The total award of $164,049.64 included $137,000 to restore the family's home, with an additional $5,000 to replace personal property damaged by the noxious fumes emitted from defective Chinese drywall.

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