Vision Home Inspections

Lawsuit: Lennar also 'victim' of faulty drywall
By MARY WOZNIAK • [email protected] • February 3, 2009
The lawsuit filed by Lennar Homes Friday against manufacturers, suppliers and installers of Chinese drywall paints Lennar as a victim as much as the homeowners who own the homes the company built.

“Lennar stands alongside its homeowners as a victim” of those who allowed the defective drywall to be manufactured, supplied and installed in Lennar homes, the lawsuit claims.

The defective drywall is suspected of corroding air conditioning coils and other interior fixtures in homes built between 2005 and 2007. Residents are voicing fears about possible long-term health effects of exposure to the drywall.

Knauf Tianjin, the company most closely associated with the manufacture of the defective drywall, is named as a main defendant along with its international parent company, Knauf Gips, based in Germany.

For the first time, another manufacturer of Chinese drywall is also named in the lawsuit, Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. The lawsuit states that there may be others that exported the drywall to the United States.

Also named as defendants are 20 others, including USG, the largest supplier of drywall in the United States, based in delaware.; and 17 Florida corporations that supply or install drywall, including five drywall installers based in Lee County.

The lawsuit alleges negligence and product liability.

What Lennar wants: Damages, including, but not limited to,

• The cost to fully repair the affected homes, which may include replacing the defective drywall and repairing and replacing the damage to other property in the homes damaged by the drywall.

• All costs incurred by Lennar in relocating its homeowners to temporary housing while their homes undergo repairs.

• Damages for Lennar’s “loss of goodwill and reputation.”

The chain of blame goes this way, according to the lawsuit:

The defective drywall in the affected homes was provided and installed by the installers, who, in turn, had purchased the defective drywall from the suppliers.

“Upon information and belief, the suppliers received the defective drywall directly or indirectly from the Manufacturers, who manufactured the defective drywall in China,” the lawsuit states.

Lennar’s consultant, environmental testing company Environ International, based in Tampa, recreated the conditions in the affected homes in a test chamber, the lawsuit says.

Environ placed chunks of the defective drywall in a sealed container with segments of clean copper plumbing pipe. After just four weeks in the test chamber, the copper plumbing pipe turned black, the lawsuit says.

But the suit claims that Knauf Gips and/or Knauf Tianjin “have thus far been steadfast in their refusal to take responsibility for their defective product.” the lawsuit says. “All named defendants with whom Lennar has communicated have similarly refused to take responsibility.”

Lennar, on the other hand, has accepted responsibility, “and stands behind its homes and homeowners.”

Lennar is committed to rectify the problems in its homes caused by the drywall. But Lennar won’t take blame and doesn’t plan to foot the bill.
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