NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday awarded more than
$164,000 to a Louisiana family whose home was ruined by
Chinese-made drywall and said the tainted material must be removed.
U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon's latest ruling comes less than
a month after he awarded $2.6 million to seven Virginia families.
His earlier decision was the first of its kind for a batch of
federal lawsuits over drywall-tainted homes.
Fallon, who presided over a trial without a jury, ruled that the
Hernandez family's home needs to gutted. He also agreed with the
family's lawyers that all electrical wiring, plumbing components,
the heating and air conditioning system and appliances have to be
removed and replaced at the expense of drywall manufacturer Knauf
Plasterboard Tianjin Co.
The family was seeking more than $200,000 to fix their home, but
plaintiffs' attorney Steve Herman said they were still pleased.
"I think Judge Fallon's ruling is a very good indication that
people who have Chinese drywall will receive the remediation
they're entitled to," Herman said.
Knauf had argued that the family's home can be repaired for less
Knauf attorney Don Hayden said the company may appeal the
judge's ruling because the scientific evidence showed a home with
the material could be repaired at a more reasonable cost than what
Hayden noted that guidelines issued by the Consumer Product
Safety Commission didn't call for completely gutting homes.
He said in a statement that the company was prepared to work
with homeowners to repair the problem.
Fallon's award to the Hernandez family includes $136,940 for
fixing the home and $5,357 for replacing personal property.
"The award he gave is going to be more than sufficient to
remedy the Hernandez home," said plaintiffs' attorney Christopher
Knauf had participated in this trial. Taishan Gypsum Co., the
company named as a defendant in the Virginia families' trial, did
not participate and has not responded to lawsuits.
Fallon's rulings only have covered property damage and haven't
considered possible health problems. The first cases with medical
claims won't be considered by the court until late 2010 or early