Today, U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Bill Posey (R-FL), Rob Wittman (R-VA) and U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and David Vitter (R-LA) filed an amicus brief in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of homeowners across America who still seek justice for the destruction to their homes caused by tainted drywall from China. First reported in 2009, thousands of homeowners in Florida, Virginia, Louisiana, and 35 other states have been affected by this contaminated drywall, which corrodes copper wiring in home electrical, telecommunications, and lighting systems, destroys air conditioners and other household appliances, and is associated with serious health problems.
The amicus brief supports a September 2012 Federal judge's ruling that Taishan Entities, a major manufacturer of the tainted drywall, be held to the court decrees made from the Multi-District Litigation arranged to deal with claims from affected homeowners in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Unlike Knauf Entities, a separate manufacturer of the drywall that in 2011 submitted to the jurisdiction of the MDL and entered into a settlement agreement with homeowners, Taishan Entities has appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort to avoid addressing claims filed by homeowners.
"It is shameful that so many families whose homes were damaged and property values destroyed as a result of contaminated drywall from China have yet to receive justice," said Congressman Deutch. "The filing of this brief represents a bipartisan commitment to ensuring that the manufacturers of this defective drywall are held accountable and that these homeowners' claims are finally heard."
"Though all are frustrated by the slow pace of this process, we remain committed to helping these homeowners in Virginia's Second District -- and across the country -- receive the justice they deserve," said Representative Scott Rigell (VA-2), co-chairman of the Contaminated Drywall Caucus. "This is a firm step toward that goal."
Asserting Federal Court jurisdiction over the companies that manufactured tainted Chinese drywall is consistent with the Sense of Congress in the Drywall Safety Act of 2012 that was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. The amicus brief was drafted with the assistance of Professor Edward Sherman, the former Dean of the Tulane Law School and an expert on civil procedure.