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Chinese Drywall Trial Date Set

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The federal judge overseeing the massive  Chinese drywall litigation in New Orleans has set January 25, 2010 as the date for the first Chinese drywall trial.  Seven Virginia homes built with drywall manufactured by Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., a company controlled by the Chinese government, will be the focus of the trial.  Earlier this fall, Taishan was issued a default judgment by Judge Eldon E. Fallon for failing to respond to Chinese drywall lawsuits.

In the days leading up to the trial, lawyers for both sides will be assessing the homes to determine a remediation protocol and evaluate the cost of repairs.  Judge Fallon will then make a ruling on how much Taishan is responsible for paying.   That determination could be used to determine damages in other Chinese drywall lawsuits.

A  final deadline for joining a Chinese drywall class action lawsuit against Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd., one of the biggest importers of drywall to the U.S., has been set for next Wednesday, December 2.  Knauf has agreed to waive its rights under The Hague Convention for the Service of Process Abroad, which sets onerous requirements for plaintiffs involved in international lawsuits,  for claimants who join an omnibus class action  lawsuit by December 2. The lawsuit itself will be filed by December 9, 2009.

Parker Waichman LLP, the first law firm to file a federal Chinese drywall lawsuit, is offering assistance to any homeowner interested in joining the Knauf Plasterboard lawsuit. Free consultations are available through the firm’s website at www.yourlawyer.com, or by calling 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

This agreement will greatly streamline the litigation process for claimants whose homes contain wallboard manufactured by Knauf if they make the deadline.  However, the December 2 date is a hard deadline, and the omnibus complaint will not be amended at a later date to add more people. To be eligible for the omnibus lawsuit, claimants must submit pictures or other proof that they have wallboard made by Knauf Plasterboard in their homes by December 2, 2009. Any Chinese drywall homeowner interested in becoming a party to this lawsuit must start now by contacting an attorney and arranging to have their home inspected.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and other federal regulators are now working on establishing remediation and testing protocols for Chinese drywall homes, following yesterday’s release of a report linking corrosion in homes to the Chinese drywall.  In its report, the CPSC said that its  major indoor air study of 51 homes, along with initial reports from two studies of corrosion in homes with Chinese drywall, confirmed that the presence of hydrogen sulfide is the essential component that causes copper and silver sulfide corrosion found in complaint homes.

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