Mississippi homeowners sue over Chinese drywall - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi homeowners sue over Chinese drywall


By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - From the moment they moved in, the Craig family's home never had that new home smell. It was the first sign of the trouble that would soon follow. 

Corroded metal and wiring, faulty electrical outlets and repeated problems with the air conditioner started to surface in their home.

"We've replaced the coils [industrial coils] three times," James Craig said. "We had the entire unit replaced. We've lost two big screen televisions already. We've been through about five hard drives with our two PCs. It all just added up."  

Craig went to his attic to find the evidence. There, he found the words 'China' and 'Knauf' on exposed pieces of drywall. Knauf is a German company that used Chinese manufacturers to supply the drywall it sold.  

Attorney Jim Reeves, of the Biloxi firm Lumpkin, Reeves and Mestayer, is overseeing Chinese drywall cases out of Mississippi and Alabama. At this point, Reeves said eight cases have made their way through federal court in New Orleans. But attorneys are waiting for a ruling to decide how to move forward.

"What we expect to come out of this litigation is a clear definition from the court, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other agencies on what's required to make these houses right, to clean it up right," Reeves said, "so we know the protocol to follow as we litigate the cases."

According to Reeves, there could be as many as 1,000 defendants, from manufacturers to contractors, involved in the lawsuit.

"It's a very, very dangerous thing to do nothing at this point.  Somebody who ignores this problem and discovers the problem three years from now, say when they try to sell the house, if this case is settled, it's probably gonna be too late," Reeves said.

The Craigs' home was used as a test sample in Mississippi.  They're part of the multi-plaintiff suit.

As many as 3,000 homeowners, mostly in Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, have reported problems with Chinese drywall.

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