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Florida homeowners to share $55 million drywall settlement

Consumer Reports News: June 15, 2011 02:37 PM

A drywall supplier has agreed to pay $55 million to homeowners suffering from tainted Chinese drywall. If approved by the federal judge handling drywall lawsuits, the settlement will provide relief for between 500 and 800 homes, mostly in Florida. The settlement will be funded by Banner Supply Co, its affiliates and their insurers, according to Reuters.

Banner said in court documents that it has denied liability for the tainted drywall and merely distributed products made primarily by Knauf Group, one of the world's largest makers of building materials, Reuters reports. Only homeowners with drywall provided by Banner Supply of Miami will be entitled to receive part of the settlement.

In a related development, Banner is trying to recoup its losses from Knauf, which it claims knew the drywall was contaminated. This is just one of the many lawsuits regarding tainted drywall that have been consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana; more settlements are expected.

Problems caused by the drywall include noxious fumes, corroded metals, appliances and fixtures and, in some cases, health issues such as respiratory problems, headaches and nosebleeds. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has gotten at least 3,870 reports from residents of 42 states about drywall-related problems. But plaintiffs estimate that between 2004 and 2008, as many as 60,000 to 100,000 homes were built using the tainted drywall.

Mary H.J. Farrell

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