Previously, we posted a blog about foreign manufacturers who manufacture defective products without consequence; specifically, Chinese drywall manufacturer Taishan Gypsum. The company has exported an estimated 10 million pounds of drywall to the United States through ports in Florida and New York.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 3,000 complaints have been filed against the company, involving complications and property damage caused by the drywall. Tests have shown that the damage was caused by sulfur emissions from the gypsum board.
“These emissions have caused significant amounts of property damage to homes built with the Chinese made material. Reported damage includes that of HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, and metal plumbing components. The emissions have been linked to metal corrosion. They cause a sulfurous odor that permeates the house, and may be the cause of eye, respiratory, and sinus problems.”
This Thursday, April 8, 2010, U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon awarded 2.6 million dollars to 7 Virginia families whose homes will have to be virtually rebuilt due to the damage caused by the defective drywall. Judge Fallon’s summary judgment details the extensive amounts of gutting that will be required to remove traces and side effects of the dry wall. All drywall must be removed, and copper pipes, electrical wiring, appliances, cabinets, trim, molding, countertops, hardwood floors, and bathroom fixtures will need to be replaced.
Unfortunately, lawsuits were limited solely to property damages, and did not address the probable effects of sulfur emissions to the health of homeowners.
But homeowners are less concerned with recoveries only including property damage, and more concerned that the likelihood they will receive their compensation is almost non-existent. With no international laws or regulations in place legally holding Taishan Gypsum responsible for the defective drywall and the damages it caused, there is no way to ensure payment. Foreign manufacturers do not have to honor civil lawsuit decisions from the United States regarding their defective products.
Taishan Gypsum never responded to any one of the lawsuits filed against them, nor did they send anyone to represent them in the U.S. federal court. It is unclear to the plaintiffs what will happen with the money owed them. Plaintiff attorneys have proposed seizing Taishan Gypsum inventory on U.S. soil, and on ships in U.S. waters, but no decisions regarding any further action have been made.
Taishan Gypsum is just one of many cross-border liability cases that have not seen or will not see a resolution due to lack of international regulations. Defective product manufacturers in The United States are held liable for their defects, and so too should manufacturers out of the country. There is currently a motion to pass the Foreign Manufacturers’ Legal Accountability Act which would force foreign manufacturers, like Taishan Gypsum, to honor decisions made in US civil trials, and to be responsible for their defective products.
If you have suffered damage, injury, or loss due to a defective product in New Jersey, whether it be manufactured in the United States or overseas, the New Jersey defective product lawyers at Mininno Law Firm want to help you. Contact us or call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.