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Chinese Drywall: Judge Rules in Homeowners' Favor

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Palm Beach, FLWhen it comes to Chinese drywall, there could be some confusion over who is to blame for homeowners dealing with Chinese drywall problems. For example, the companies who installed the defective Chinese drywall did not make the drywall, but they did use it. So the question becomes, does that make them responsible for problems with Chinese drywall?

A judge in Florida has now ruled that Chinese drywall installers can, under certain circumstances, be held strictly liable for using the defective Chinese drywall. That means that homeowners do not have to prove that the installers were negligent in using the product, only that the drywall is defective.

Meanwhile, an investigation by ProPublica (12/14/10) suggests that the federal government has not done nearly enough to help homeowners affected by the defective Chinese drywall, or to pursue companies that imported, built or distributed the drywall. According to information compiled by ProPublica and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, almost 7,000 homeowners have sought help for problems caused by the defective drywall.

Those problems can be expensive. To repair a home of average size requires replacing the drywall, wiring and air-conditioning, at a cost of about $100,000, according to ProPublica.

While homeowners file lawsuits to help with the cost of repairs to their home, Congress has reportedly taken almost no action on the Chinese drywall issue, with not even one hearing held about the drywall in 2010. And, although the courts can go after American companies who installed the drywall, there is no way of forcing the Chinese drywall manufacturers to pay if a judgment is issued against them.

Defective Chinese drywall has been linked to a number of problems, including corrosion of copper, appliances breaking down and odors throughout affected houses. Defective Chinese drywall can also cause electrical wires to be eaten away. A report by CBS News (03/26/09) estimates that approximately 60,000 homes throughout the US are affected by Chinese drywall.

Officials speculate that drywall made in China was contaminated with dangerous chemicals that not only affect the home but could have health implications as well.

Homeowners who believe they have been affected by Chinese drywall held a rally outside the US Senate building earlier this month and met with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) officials about their concerns.


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