Chinese Drywall Maker To Pay Millions In Claims

fromWWNO

Thousands of Gulf Coast homeowners have repeatedly said their new homes were making them sick. In a federal courtroom in New Orleans Thursday, a Chinese drywall manufacturer agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to resolve court claims by property owners who said the product corroded pipes and wires and otherwise wrecked their homes.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR business news starts with a Gulf coast drywall deal. A Chinese drywall company has agreed to pay millions of dollars to property owners in the U.S. who claim the drywall was defective and damaged their home.

Eileen Fleming of member station WWNO has the latest.

EILEEN FLEMING, BYLINE: The deal involves 4,500 property owners and Knauf Plasterboard. The company will pay for repairs and medical losses. Drywall imported from China from 2004 to 2007 eased demand from the housing boom and hurricane repairs. But not long after residents started seeing corroded electrical wiring and detected a rotten egg odor. Some people had headaches and nosebleeds. They sued homebuilders who then sued manufacturers. Those claims, most in Florida and Louisiana, ended up in a federal court in New Orleans.

The plaintiffs' lead attorney Arnold Levin says this case won't be the last. He intends to go after other foreign drywall manufacturers.

ARNOLD LEVIN: We intend to obtain judgments and execute on their property in the United States, because we're going to prove to the world that our system of jurisprudence works.

FLEMING: The federal judge must sign off on the deal before any money is handed out and that's not expected until next year. For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.

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