Chinese Drywall Class Action Certified in Miami

Earlier in May, we discussed the Chinese drywall lawsuits that are being filed across the Southern United States. As we explained in the prior post, beginning in 2004, defective Chinese drywall that was installed in newly built Southern homes.

The defective drywall eventually broke down in the hot, humid weather and emitted noxious fumes which smelled like rotten eggs. The emissions can cause copper and other metal surfaces, such as pipes and wires, to turn black and powdery and also irritate the respiratory tracts of residents, ranging from sinus problems, asthma and nosebleeds.

A few weeks ago, a Miami judge certified a class action filed on behalf of 152 Miami-Dade homeowners. This lawsuit is limited to a specific Miami-Dade housing subdivision and is just a drop in the bucket given that over 2100 people have filed lawsuits related to the defective Chinese drywall nationwide.

It represents a victory nevertheless, since it allows the Miami-Dade plaintiffs a more streamlined path to justice, as explained in this post from the Miami New Times blog:

The class action suit is limited to a single subdivision in Homestead, but lawyers say the judge’s decision could be an important precedent for thousands of other victims…

Lawsuits have cropped up across the country, but there’s a staggering array of challenges. For one thing, the biggest manufacturers, including Knauf, are based overseas and difficult to serve.

For another, no one can agree who’s to blame on the long chain from the factory to the exporter to the builder to the subcontractors.

Hopefully this class action certification will pave the way for other lawsuits pending across the country. These injured homeowners, many of whom have been forced out of their homes because of the drywall fumes and are facing foreclosure, deserve justice–and they deserve it quickly.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com.