Letter to the Editor: Chinese drywall problem still unresolved

Oct 18, 2011

The following article was published in the Miami Herald on October 17, 2011:

Chinese drywall problem still unresolved

For some Florida homeowners, the housing and foreclosure crises aren’t the only problems they face. They also must deal with another calamity: defective Chinese-manufactured drywall installed in their homes during the housing boom.

In an effort to fix the problem, lawyers have brought lawsuits against virtually every entity involved in the manufacture and delivery of the drywall. While almost all the companies involved haven’t settled, one small Florida supplier that has served the construction industry in this state for 58 years — Banner Supply Co. — has agreed to settle the claims against it, even though it didn’t create or manufacture the drywall.

Banner’s nearly $55 million settlement is the totality of its insurance. Financially, the company has been devastated, forced to pay large legal bills, dramatically decrease the number of its employees and close locations.

In announcing the settlement, Banner stated that it did so to bring resolution for its customers and the homeowners because prolonged litigation wouldn’t have helped. Unfortunately, this settlement — the first of what is expected — is now being misrepresented in the media.

While it may be easiest to pursue a Banner and to blow up a $55 million settlement that would be advantageous to homeowners, rather than go after the German conglomerate that manufactured the defective drywall, the fact remains that it didn’t create the problem drywall. It was manufactured by a Chinese division of the German conglomerate Knauf Gips. 

There are hundreds of  Florida homeowners who have been harmed by defective Chinese drywall manufactured by Knauf. They shouldn’t be further harmed by a misinformation campaign that will ultimately benefit the lawyers who are waging it.

 Michael Peterson, attorney, Peterson & Espino, Miami

Find this article here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/17/2458935/chinese-drywall-problem-still.html#ixzz1b98sDmkj