Florida homeowners opt out of Chinese drywall settlement, will pursue trial in Florida state court

At least one Florida couple has decided to opt out of the proposed $55 million settlement with a Miami-based Chinese drywall supplier.

Over the past few months we’ve detailed the Chinese drywall saga that resulted in over 10,000 defective product claims from homeowners throughout Florida and the Gulf Coast area who purchased defective drywall from a Chinese manufacturer. Last month one of the major distributors of the defective drywall, Banner Supply Company — based in Miami — agreed to a $54.5 million settlement for the homeowners. At the time it was recognized that the settlement would not be sufficient to cover the losses of each claimant and the question was posed how the money would be efficiently divided among the 2,000 homeowners.

Now one Miami-Dade couple has decided to take their chances at a separate trial in Florida state court rather than their portion of the multi-million dollar settlement. Under the settlement, the couple would only receive about $10,000 — despite the fact that it would likely cost more than $100,000 to fix their property.

The 2,000 homeowners who purchased the defective drywall from Banner Supply have until August to decide whether to accept the deal or opt out and pursue their own litigation. Several litigation attorneys note that pursing an individual lawsuit in state court could prove beneficial for a number of the homeowners, since damages will be calculated for each individual case.

There is also hope that eventually other suppliers, installers and builders who used the defective Chinese drywall in Florida homes will settle with homeowners as well.

Source: SunSentinel.com, “Couple rejects $54.5 million Chinese drywall settlement,” Paul Owners, 15 July 2011.