Problems with drywall imported from China during the ill-fated U.S. housing boom continue to be front and center in the southeastern U.S., as complaints continue to roll in regarding health problems allegedly caused by the tainted wallboard, as well as damage to electrical and plumbing work. Naturally enough, a significant litigation boom has followed, including attempts to bring claims against the Chinese manufacturers who supplied the drywall. In a recent development, Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd (“KPT”), a leading defendant in the consolidated federal court lawsuit against manufacturers of Chinese drywall, has agreed to accept service of process for homeowner plaintiffs who are named in an Omnibus Class Action Complaint, and to waive its right to demand service of process through the Hague Convention (saving plaintiffs the $15,000 service fee).
According to the November 2, 2009 Order of United States District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon, KPT’s offer was only available for a limited time to those homeowners capable of providing the required documentation. Homeowners had to sign up for the class action by December 2, 2009 and provide photographs, inspection reports, or other proof of KPT drywall in their home to Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel. Plaintiffs also have to submit a fully completed and executed Plaintiff Profile Form to Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel by December 14, 2009. The offer applies only to the consolidated federal litigation. KPT has not agreed to waive its right to effectuate service through the Hague Convention in any other civil action.
For more information and to obtain a copy of Judge Fallon’s November 2, 2009 Order, visit the Eastern District of Louisiana’s website for the Chinese drywall multi-district litigation at http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/drywall/drywall.htm.