An Alabama construction company that is a party in the multidistrict litigation over allegedly tainted Chinese-made drywall has asked for a default judgment against a foreign manufacturer/seller of gypsum drywall. Mitchell Co. Inc., et al. v. Knauf Gips KG, et al., No. 09-cv-4115 (E.D. La.).
Mitchell filed a motion last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana asking for a default judgment against China-based Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. The motion alleges that Taishan has not responded to the plaintiff’s complaint nor entered an appearance. Mitchell filed its original complaint back in March, in the Northern District of Florida, seeking to represent a class of plaintiffs who allege they incurred expenses stemming from defective drywall. The complaint names several drywall makers and sellers. The case was later transferred with related actions to the MDL in front of Judge Fallon. In re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, No. 09-md-02047 (E.D. La.).
Interestingly, the motion comes as the Congress debates a bill that would make it easier for foreign manufacturers to be sued when their products allegedly injure U.S. consumers, the Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act of 2009.
MassTortDefense has posted about the alleged problems with Chinese imported drywall. In litigation over the issues, Lennar Corp., the U.S.’ second largest home-builder (by volume), has sued more than two dozen manufacturers, suppliers and installers. As noted here before, Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Mary Landrieu, D-La., have introduced legislation tied to Chinese drywall. Also, the CPSC reports that it has now received a total of 810 reports related to the allegedly defective drywall, including complaints from two additional states, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. That means the Commission (criticized in some circles for its work on this issue)has received reports from homeowners in 23 states and the District of Columbia. The majority of the reports continue to be from Florida, Louisiana, and Virginia. About 6.2 million sheets of Chinese drywall were imported into the U.S. during 2006.