NEW ORLEANS (AP) A federal judge on Feb. 7 approved five class-action settlements that call for a Chinese drywall manufacturer and others to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to repair homes damaged by the product, attorneys for thousands of Gulf Coast property owners said.
U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in New Orleans held a hearing in November to help him gauge the fairness of five separate but related settlement agreements between plaintiffs’ lawyers and companies that made, supplied or installed the defective Chinese drywall.
The product was used in the construction of 12,000 to 20,000 homes and businesses, mainly in the South, after a series of destructive hurricanes in 2005 and before the housing bubble burst. The problems it has caused range from a foul odor to corrosion of pipes and wiring.
Fallon’s order certified settlements for Interior/Exterior Building Supply LP; Banner; L&W Supply Corp.; Knauf and Global participating builders, suppliers and installers.
After Fallon’s ruling, plaintiffs’ attorney Arnold Levin said he was “thrilled that the court has issued an order and is hopeful that homeowners will now be able to get their homes remediated and put their lives back together.’’
Levin said the settlements will benefit more than 10,000 property owners and are estimated to be in excess of $1 billion, most of which will be paid by Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co.
Knauf agreed to create an uncapped fund to pay for repairing roughly 5,200 properties, mostly in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.