Drywall settlement means some South MS homes to be renovated

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) – The home where Jason and Amanda Taylor live with their four kids is an attractive stucco style house in an Ocean Springs neighborhood. However, walk inside and a faint metallic smell reveals that this home was one of thousands that fell victim to defective Chinese drywall.

The Taylor family moved into their home about four years ago. They said it was only a few months after moving in that they started seeing the tell-tale problems associated with Chinese drywall.  In four years, the family has replaced the house's two air conditioning units four times each.  They now use window units.  They have also lost multiple computers, replaced a microwave, and the thermometer in their refrigerator is fried.

However, a landmark settlement means good news for the Taylor family. A limited settlement in the lawsuit against drywall supplier Knauf has been reached. Knauf will pay for 300 homes across the Southeast to be renovated.

"This is the first time that I'm aware of in U.S. legal history that we've been able to hold, particularly a Chinese, but a foreign manufacturer liable in a case like this," said lawyer Steve Mullins who represents the Taylors in their case against Knauf.

"We can't help but be ecstatic that we're finally going to get the house that we thought we purchased four years ago," said Jason Taylor.

In the Taylors' garage you can still see the small "K's" for Knauf printed on the drywall.  When the house is renovated, all the drywall will be removed and the house gutted all the way down to the 2x4s.

The Taylors are a part of a small group to have their homes rebuilt in a pilot program. If all goes well in the smaller group, the homes involved in the Knauf cases will also be rebuilt.

Five other houses in South Mississippi were also chosen for the pilot program.

"The hope is that from that we can have a global resolution for all the Knauf dry wall cases," said Mullins.

The family has already begun packing up. Knauf will pay for temporary housing while their home is being renovated. With any luck, construction will start by Thanksgiving.

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