Moss gets contract for Chinese drywall remediation

Oct 14, 2010

The article was published in the South Florida News Journal on October 14, 2010:

Fort Lauderdale-based Moss & Associates has been chosen as lead contractor in a demonstration project to fix 300 homes affected by Chinese drywall.

The remediation project, which includes ripping out all of the drywall and electric fixtures, is part of a settlement in class action lawsuits over the defective, high-sulfur Chinese drywall.

The fix described in the settlement can range from $100,000 to more than $200,000 so the project is thought be worth between $30 million and more than $60 million. Thousands of homes are believed to have been built with the defective drywall.

“Numerous contractors were discussed and vetted, and we were comfortable with Moss,” said Ervin Gonzalez, an attorney on the plaintiffs’ steering committee. “They just have to follow the protocol; they’re very experienced.”

The settlement establishes a demonstration remediation program, funded by manufacturer Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin and a several builders, drywall suppliers and their insurers. Knauf and the plaintiffs’ committee announced the settlement in a news release Thursday morning.

A spokeswoman for Moss declined to comment, saying that the company was allowing the attorneys in the class action to communicate to the press.

Gonzalez said about 25 homes in South Florida’s three counties are expected to be among the first 100 homes to be fixed.

He said the demonstration is definitely a precursor to a global settlement, but so far, it only includes homes in which Knauf was the manufacturer of most of the drywall installed.

Two other defendants, Beijing Building Materials and Taishan Gypsum, have not participated in the class action litigation, but recently agreed to send representatives to the table, Gonzalez said.

“We’re going slowly because we want to make sure we work the kinks out,” he said.

Gonzalez said the eventual total cost of the Knauf settlement could easily exceed $500 million, but other contractors would be included at that time.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez is preparing to depose executives from German-owned Knauf’s parent company, regardless of the budding settlement. He is set to travel to Hong Kong, London and Frankfurt for the depositions.

He said Knauf is paying for the initial expenses and is expecting to get contributions from other defendants.

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