08162017Headline:

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Wayne Parsons
Wayne Parsons
Attorney • (808) 845-2211

New legislation could help homeowners sue Chinese drywall manufacturers.

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We have a problem in the U.S. with holding foreign manufacturers responsible for harm their defective products cause here in the States. One example was the salmonella problem from Mexican tomatoes and currently the focus is on drywall manufactured in China. I have written on this problem before:

Drywall From China Causes Concern Over Sulfur Odor In Homes

Melamine Contamination, Food Poisoning and Foreign Products

Food Poisoning Tips For Consumers in Hawaii

House passes food safety bill

Now Congress is doing something about the foreign drywall. The Miami Herald (8/12, Clark) reports, "New legislation could make it easier for homeowners with defective Chinese drywall to take the manufacturer to court. The Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act of 2009, introduced by Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, and co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., attempts to make it easier to bring foreign companies before an American court." The bill "would require foreign manufacturers to retain a business representative in at least one state where it does significant business and who could be served with a lawsuit."

CSPC to visit China for drywall investigation. The Palm Beach (FL) Post (8/11, Ross) reported, "The Consumer Product Safety Commission – which is spearheading the investigation into the odorous drywall linked to corroding metal and blamed by some homeowners for health problems – sent an update to Congress today stating that it has received permission from Chinese officials to visit the country. The visit is planned to begin on Aug. 17; the CPSC said it has asked to visit ‘several sites that we believe to be of interest.’" CPSC staff "has confirmed that 6,211,200 sheets of Chinese drywall were imported into the U.S."

In a blog at the Wall Street Journal (8/11), M.P. McQueen wrote, "In the update, officials also said the agency will ‘in the coming days’ release results of testing for radioactive phosphogypsum by the Florida state health department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."

Judge to expedite ‘bellwether’ trials. The Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune (8/11, Kessler) reported, "Meanwhile, Judge Eldon E. Fallon, who plans to begin ‘bellwether’ trials in January, told both sides during a status conference in New Orleans on Tuesday that he expected discovery to begin in a few weeks. The process will be sped along by the use of ‘profile forms’ rather than traditional interrogatories that can get mired in procedural delays." Fallon "already has suggested that the foreign defendants consider waiving" the plaintiffs’ requirements for serving suits, commenting, "The train is leaving, folks, and you’re not going to be able to catch up to it. The MDL is going to get it eventually, you might as well shortcut it." Attorneys "indicated that there may be movement on that issue."