NEW ORLEANS — Chinese drywall manufacturer Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin, along with suppliers, builders and insurers, agreed Thursday to repair up to 300 homes in four states and possibly thousands more damaged by corrosive drywall.
In this pilot program, up to 300 homeowners in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi whose homes had drywall manufactured by Knauf will get their homes fixed, lawyers said.
Knauf and the other companies have agreed to replace drywall, wiring, fire and alarm systems, and fixtures in damaged homes. Many more of the 2,000 to 3,000 homes built with Knauf drywall might be fixed under similar terms if the pilot program is successful.
U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon said he was optimistic Thursday's deal could resolve most property damage claims against Knauf.
"We got that first step in global resolution today," the judge said.
Still, Thursday's announcement does nothing for thousands of other homeowners with drywall made by other Chinese companies. There could be as many as 10,000 other homeowners whose homes contain drywall made by other companies that have largely ignored lawsuits filed in U.S. courts.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that homes tainted by Chinese drywall should be gutted and that electrical wiring, outlets, circuit breakers, fire alarm systems, carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers, gas pipes and drywall need to be removed.
The drywall has been linked to corrosion of wiring, air conditioning units, computers, doorknobs and jewelry, along with possible health effects.