Chinese drywall maker settles claims

Via yesterday’s New York Times, a heartening AP article.

Do you remember when we all learned that drywall imported from China had poisoned thousands of new houses in the Gulf region? The composition of the drywall “corroded pipes and wires…” It also exuded fumes that sickened owners, who had to move out, abandoning their brand new homes.

This news came around the same time we learned that some toys made in China and sold in the U.S. contained lead-based paint, upon which children chewed. I was doubly infuriated and didn’t know what sort of remedy the U.S. justice system could supply to these people.

After all, I had posted here news about Wisconsin’s new laws that barred plaintiffs and their lawyers from suing a distributor like WalMart for selling dangerous product made in foreign factories. The new Wisconsin legislation removed initial liability from the seller of bad product and forced plaintiffs’ lawyers to go directly after the foreign corporations.

I feared that other, Republican-dominated state legislatures would enact similar laws and since the Gulf region is entirely Republican dominated, I didn’t have a lot of hope for southern homeowners who had been victimized by builders using bad Chinese product.

Well, the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, Russ Herman, and New Orleans federal district judge, Hon. Eldon E. Fallon, forced the Chinese company that made the wallboard to settle in “the largest settlement of its kind so far.” So much for states’ rights.

By the way, when I first read about the toys and the drywall, I decided to get rid of everything in my home made in China. Most of it was dishware. I read the bottoms of every dish and saw a “lead free” notice on the dishes made in the U.S.A. No such notice on the China china.

I replaced all my Chinese-made bowls with dishes made by the very American Homer Laughlin company, which also makes the genuinely merry Fiesta Ware. My new dishes were more expensive than China dishes, yes, but I’d so much rather pay more than season my home-made meals with lead.


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