Judge's ruling on Chinese drywall brings hope to homeowners - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Judge's ruling on Chinese drywall brings hope to homeowners

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Jessica Bowman – email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A court decision in a Virginia case could have a major impact on South Mississippians dealing with toxic drywall issues. A judge awarded more than $2 million in damages to several Virginia families to pay for the removal of Chinese drywall from their homes.

"This is very good news that will offer a very good precedent for all other homeowners in the country who have Chinese drywall in their homes, including Mississippians," Biloxi attorney Jim Reeves said.

Reeves is overseeing a number of drywall cases in Mississippi. He said the judge in this case ruled that all the Chinese made drywall in the Virginia homes should be removed, as well as any items damaged by corrosion due to the drywall.

"What he found was specifically what needs to be done to make these homes safe and live-able," Reeves said.

"The homeowners of Mississippi and the Gulf South are vindicated," attorney Edward Gibson said. "What they believed needed to happen to their homes, which is that the homes need to be gutted down to the studs, is what the court has said needs to be done."

Attorney Edward Gibson is representing Gulfport homeowners David and Laurie Pitre, who are also suffering from the toxic drywall in their home.

"It is a problem and that is justified to compensate the people that are dealing with that," Laurie Pitre said. "And hopefully things will go that way for our case, because we are ready."

The Pitres said if their case goes as well as the seven families from Virginia, they will have enough money to do the work that's necessary to repair their home.

"Tear everything out, down to the studs," David Pitre said. "Most everything has to be replaced, including the wiring. We're just looking for a chance to put our house back together to make it safe and restore its value."

According to Reeves, there are approximately 3,000 claims pending in the New Orleans area and some 300 confirmed Chinese drywall cases in Mississippi. Reeves expects another ruling from this court in the next couple of weeks.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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