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Lawyers Flocking to Chinese Drywall Cases

Another week, another new practice area. This time, the focus of attention is Chinese drywall, a possibly defective drywall product installed in houses that is spawning claims nationwide, reports Bradenton Herald.com. (See previous reports here and here.)

So what exactly is Chinese drywall? According to Wikipedia, it's a type of drywall manufactured in China out of fly ash from coal-fired power plants. As a result, it's chock-full of potentially dangerous chemicals, including hydrogen sulfide or carbon disulfide, which cause corrosion to electronic equipment, wires and other metals in a home as well as respiratory ailments, headaches and nosebleeds. Most Chinese drywall was imported by the U.S. during the construction boom between 2004 and 2007 when it was in high demand. Florida and Virginia, two states that experienced a housing boom during that period, have been most affected, though Louisiana also has its share of cases due to post-Katrina rebuilding.

Law firm interest in drywall cases on the plaintiffs' side should be obvious: potential prestige and a huge financial payoff. As Darren Inverson of Norton, Hammersley, Lopez & Skokos told the Bradenton Herald,
“This could be a $100 million case, and [lawyers] could get 35 percent” of any settlement or judgment if they’re the lead attorney." Not surprisingly, firms have stocked up on keyword-based Internet domain names to recruit potential clients, while other lawyers are going directly to construction contractors who are inspecting homes to determine whether there are drywall problems.

In addition to plaintiffs' work, firms are also finding clients on the defense side -- manufacturers, suppliers, builders and contractors who are the likely targets of class actions.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on March 30, 2009 at 03:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

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