Buying a home is still regarded by many as the American dream. But for some, defective products like toxic drywall can turn that dream into a nightmare. This was the case for many in Florida who developed health or housing structural issues as a result of drywall manufactured in China. Unfortunately, once the legal market is saturated with widespread claims or even class action lawsuits, some affected people can fall between the cracks.
One Sarasota area couple is living that reality. Instead of looking forward to a peaceful retirement, they are enduring multiple hardships allegedly due to toxic wallboard. The man, a disabled Vietnam veteran, now suffers from ongoing, related health issues that have kept him in and out of hospitals. His wife, also plagued with health problems, was encouraged to stay temporarily with family in her European home country. In addition, structural damage like wire and pipe corrosion have reduced the home’s assessed value from $193,000 to only $3000 — the cost of the land it was built on.
Unfortunately, since their drywall was made in the U.S. and the legal market was saturated with Chinese drywall lawsuits, they gave up searching for a lawyer to represent their case. In the end, they filed pro se — suing all involved parties involved for a total of $50 million in damages. Meanwhile, the veteran is sleeping on his enclosed porch, while his wife is across the ocean. A spokesperson for the drywall company insists that the couple’s claim is invalid, but the man cites evidence otherwise. He notes the plummeting value of his home due to corrosion of pipes and wiring, a red flag issue in the Chinese drywall cases. He also reports a hallmark sulfurous odor, noting that the fumes in affected wallboard are known to cause respiratory problems, eye irritation, kidney and heart problems, and other serious issues.
If you have tried in vain to seek legal representation, don’t give up. There are many reasons a particular law firm may be unable to take your case, but a little effort and continued searching will usually pay off. If you have been impacted by a defective product, you deserve the advocacy and support of an experienced lawyer.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “Report: North Port couple sues over home’s drywall problems” John Hielscher, Jul. 12, 2013