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Chinese Drywall Cases Fast-Tracked

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New Orleans, LAA judge from Louisiana has been given the job of dealing with all the Chinese drywall lawsuits that are being gathered together in a Multi District Litigation( MDL) case and he's made it clear he will be moving fast. "That's good news," says New Orleans attorney Joesph Bruno. "Judge (Eldon) Fallon is talking about a trial date in six months, which is extraordinary."

DrywallAnd the fact that the judge is from Bruno's home state of Louisiana where homeowners had been hit first by a killer hurricane and then bad drywall is also a positive. "This judge is very sensitive to the fact that the people of our community just went through Katrina, fighting with insurance companies, trying to rebuild and now this debacle," Bruno says.

Judge Fallon has had significant experience with MDL cases and recently shepparded through the complex MDL case against Vioxx. That's another reason that Bruno is encouraged by the appointment of Fallon as the judge in the case.

Bruno represents about 150 clients who are filing suit against three Chinese Drywall manufacturers owned by the Knauf Group of Germany. The plaintiffs claim the drywall gives off gases that smell like rotten-egg smell and corrodes everything from air conditioner coils to electrical wiring and jewelry. Some claim they have suffered health problems such has headaches, nosebleeds and respiratory problems.

Although the cases will be fast tracked, it can't be resolved quick enough for Bruno's clients who are dealing daily with problems that they allege are the result of contaminated drywall. "The hardest part is not knowing how to advise our clients about exposure to toxins etc," he says. "The other side says there is no exposure, although there is the smell -- so it is extremely difficult how to advise our clients what to do."

The discovery process will be critically important in the months ahead as lawyers begin to examine witnesses in an attempt to find out how extensive the damage from the drywall is. "We don't know if it is affecting the insulation or other building materials in the houses. It is a monumentally difficult problem," says Bruno.
I wish there was some easy track we could take--by that I mean what do we can do to make these homes safe and sort out who pays later."

"It is very confusing to the consumers. Some people who can afford it are ripping out their walls – that may or may not be the best thing to do," says Bruno. People with no means or little means are stuck with it the way it is for the time being."

"You go from Katrina to this;It is really an awful situation."

Joesph Bruno is a graduate of Loyola Law School; Southern University Law Center and Southern Methodist University. He is a third generation lawyer and practices with Bruno & Bruno in New Orleans.



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