Class-action settlement reached in Chinese drywall litigation

Plaintiffs’ attorneys representing homeowners affected by Chinese drywall announced in Miami-Dade Circuit Court Friday that they had reached an $80-million class-action settlement with insurance companies for many of the builders and installers of the toxic building material.

The settlement was discussed at a hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Joseph Farina. It had previously been presented to U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in New Orleans earlier in the week. The agreement is scheduled to be presented to the courts for final approval in November.

The case covers more than 9,000 homeowners, many of them in Florida, who suffered losses because the defective drywall was used in their homes. The defective drywall gives off sulfur gas that corrodes plumbing and has been associated with health problems.

Ervin A. Gonzalez, a partner in the Coral Gables office of Colson Hicks Eidson and co-lead plaintiff’s counsel in Florida, said “The goal is to make clients who suffered for years whole for their losses.’’

Gonzalez, who is also a member of the national plaintiffs’ steering committee, said the $80 million from the builders and installers’ insurance companies will complement another $55-million settlement reached by Banner Supply last year and an $800-million to $1-billion settlement agreed to by Knauf, a German company that made drywall in China.