Chinese Drywall Litigation News: Part I

Chinese Drywall Litigation News: Part I

By Jim Harvey

Most in the construction industry are aware of the many claims that have surfaced in the last few years concerning defective drywall originating from China that has resulted in a rash of homeowner claims of property and personal injury damage.  Because of the construction boom between 2004 and 2007, suppliers looked to China to provide needed drywall.  Homeowners complained of smelly gasses, blackening of metal wire surfaces and objects, and the breaking down of HVAC units, appliances and electrical devices in their homes. 

The Consumer Products Safety Commission has received more than 3,400 reports from residents in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico concerning defective Chinese drywall.  These claims have been largely concentrated in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Chinese Drywall has been the largest investigation ever conducted by the CPSC.

While the government investigation continues, and it has issued guidance for the recognition and remediation of the problem, the issue has largely moved to the courts for resolution.  Cases are pending in state and federal courts over the damage and the potential for insurance coverage.  Recent court provide a better understanding of where this litigation is heading.  The next two articles will address the federal and state court decisions awarded significant damages to homeowners, and a local federal court decision denying insurance coverage.

Chinese Drywall Litigation News: Part II

Chinese Drywall Litigation News: Part III

Authored by attorneys, these articles are meant to bring awareness to these topics and are not intended to be used as legal advice. For more information, contact Mike at 757-446-8626 or Bill Franczek at 757-446-8600. Visit , for our library of Construction Law Tips.  Suggestions for a topic? E-mail


Jim Harvey is a partner with Vandeventer Black and concentrates his practice in construction law, public contracts, products liability and general commercial litigation.

He often represents owners, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and bonding and insurance companies in a variety of disputes and contract analysis. Some of his more notable engagements include representation of a large, international bridgebuilder on projects along the east coast, representation of several general contractors on high profile local projects, and several products liability cases involving failed building materials. Jim represents clients in litigation, before state and federal courts, agencies, and boards of contract appeals, as well as in arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution procedures.