PoliticalNews.me - Aug 20,2014 - Landrieu Urges Baucus To Facilitate Resolution of Chinese Drywall Claims
Joins bipartisan group of Senators in sending letter to U.S. Ambassador to China
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., along with a bipartisan group of Senators, sent a letter to Max Baucus, U.S. Ambassador to China, urging him to assist in facilitating a resolution of claims against certain Chinese manufacturers, including state-owned entities, that are refusing to participate in the legal process to help homeowners severely impacted by defective drywall manufactured by their firms.
The letter outlines steps taken by several federal agencies to address problem drywall cases, prevent future imports of defective drywall and the legal steps taken by thousands of homeowners to hold Chinese drywall companies accountable for their violations. Rather than pay these claims or accept jurisdiction, the companies in violation have walked away from participating in any further legal proceedings. Read the letter online here.
“From approximately 2004 to 2009, there was a housing boom in the United States that also coincided with the large-scale rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast area to recover from the impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In response, a number of builders and contractors imported drywall manufactured in China to meet the demand,” Sen. Landrieu and her colleagues wrote. “Some of this drywall caused problems shortly after it was installed. May homeowners reported strong sulfur smells and metal corrosion in their homes. Other people reported heath effects.”
“Impacted homeowners turned to U.S. courts, and filed suit against the responsible Chinese parties. After an extensive period of discovery by the court, it was determined that two Chinese manufacturers and their affiliates were responsible for most of the problem drywall. One company reached a global settlement, the other walked away—refusing to make no more appearances in court,” the letter continued. “We hope you will take all possible steps to raise this violation of the Hague Convention and the failure of a Chinese state-owned entity to respect foreign court judgments with the highest levels of the Chinese government.”
In July, Sen. Landrieu expressed her support for a new class action lawsuit brought by over 3,000 homeowners in Louisiana and across the country to seek compensation for health and property damages from imported Chinese drywall.
In 2010, Sen. Landrieu welcomed the announcement of a settlement between 300 plaintiffs in Louisiana and one of the two Chinese companies responsible for manufacturing and importing the defective products.
In 2009, Sen. Landrieu introduced a bipartisan resolution urging mortgage relief for the 1,300 homeowners directly affected by Chinese drywall and secured funding for a multi-agency federal investigation into its negative health effects.