• psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities, condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, Poquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton, Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry, Va Beach, Yorktown and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @ 757-254-813

Hampton Roads families seek $2.6M for Chinese drywall damage

About $2.6 million is on the line for seven Hampton Roads families fighting for compensation from the manufacturer of the Chinese drywall that ravaged their homes.

That’s just a sliver of the millions more that could be doled out to others if they win their case. Thousands of Americans are waiting in the wings for recompense after the toxic wallboard turned their lives upside down.

But one big hurdle stands in their way.

A panel of judges in the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Wednesday that will set them up to decide in the coming weeks whether Chinese drywall manufacturer Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. can be held accountable in American courts for its tainted products.

It’s one of the biggest questions yet in the five-year legal saga, and Hampton Roads families – four from Williamsburg, two from Newport News and one from Virginia Beach – are blazing the trail for the rest of the country. They are representing at least 300 families in a class-action lawsuit, Germano v. Taishan, which was filed in 2009

Read more about the case here

Read more about past Chinese Drywall issues in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads Virginia here

Chinese Drywall bill clears Congress awaits Presidents signature

Congress has taken action to stop the spread of tainted drywall blamed for corroding pipes and causing breathing problems in thousands of homes in Florida and 38 other states.

The bill essentially bans high-sulfur building products and also raised hopes that homeowners will be able to bring Chinese manufacturers to court to recover the cost of replacing dangerous drywall.

image"Most of the homes in Williamsburg or Hampton Roads have been repaired, and people are moving forward, But any level of relief for those homeowners will  be welcomed, because many were devastated.

The bill that Congress sent to President Barack Obama Tuesday evening relies on diplomatic pressure to help alleged victims gain compensation.

It directs the U.S. secretary of commerce to arrange a meeting between Chinese drywall makers and U.S. officials on how to remedy homeowners. And it instructs the Commerce Department to insist that the Chinese government direct those companies to submit to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts and their judgments.

Though consumer advocates were encouraged, some remain doubtful about the Obama’s administration’s determination to demand a response from the Chinese.

The original legislation, H.R. 4212, was introduced by Representative Scott Rigell  and passed the House of Representatives unanimously this summer.  In December, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, a longtime advocate for Chinese drywall victims, was instrumental in moving the legislation unanimously through the Senate with an amendment.  Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the measure on a strong bipartisan vote of 378-37 and sent the final bill to the President’s desk.
“This is a bill about protecting American families – their health and financial well-being.  Too many of our friends and neighbors have suffered because of the effects of Chinese drywall in their homes, and this bill ensures that preventative standards are in place so no American family is faced with the hardship and heartache from contaminated drywall ever again,” said Rigell, co-chair of the bipartisan Contaminated Drywall Caucus which has worked on legislation to address this issue since the beginning of the 112th Congress.

  “Having worked on this issue since the day I took office, I am pleased that this legislation is headed to the President’s desk.  But China must also be held accountable for the devastation this product has already caused, and we will continue to fight for these victims as well.”
“Hundreds of Virginia homeowners have been put through hell after building or repairing their homes with toxic drywall.  Our bipartisan legislation should ensure that, in the future, more Virginians will not have to go through similar nightmares,” said Senator Warner.  “This legislation helps make sure that unsafe drywall won’t be sold in the future, and that the manufacturers of tainted drywall will be held accountable.”
Senator Warner and staff have worked closely for nearly three years with about 100 affected Virginia families.  The Senator has worked with mortgage lenders, insurance companies, and the IRS to provide some short-term financial relief for affected families. In October 2009, Senator Warner accompanied Consumer Product Safety Commission Chair Inez Tenenbaum to Hampton Roads to speak with families and tour several homes affected by drywall issues.

Once signed into law, the bill will:
• Express a Sense of Congress that the Chinese manufacturers need to make restitution to the victims.
• Institute a labeling requirement so that defective drywall can be traced to the manufacturer.
• Set chemical standards to limit the amount of sulfur that can be present in domestic and imported drywall, allowing the Consumer Product Safety Commission two years to promulgate a rule pertaining to sulfur content.
• Require Consumer Product Safety Commission to update their remediation guidelines to prevent contaminated drywall from being reused or recycled.
Background on contaminated drywall:

Background on contaminated drywall:

  • Contaminated Chinese-manufactured drywall was imported and used in home construction from approximately 2001-2009.  Some of that material was used in Hampton Roads construction.
  • Scientific studies have shown this drywall to cause a corrosive environment for fire alarm systems, electrical distribution systems, gas piping, and refrigeration coils.
  • The CPSC has received reports of contaminated Chinese drywall in more than 3,991 homes in 43 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico.
  • The Chinese manufacturers, some of which are state owned, have refused to submit to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.
  • Reports from homeowners indicate that some contaminated drywall may be entering the recycling stream for use in new home construction or renovation.

Read other stories about Chines Drywall in Williamsburg, Hampton Roads here

Hampton Roads contractor keeps Chinese Drywall suit alive.

A local contractor won a minor victory in an appeal of its claim for damages against its insurance carriers, which refused to cover the costs of replacing tainted Chinese drywall.

imageA Norfolk federal judge had dismissed a $5 million suit brought by Dragas Management Corp., ruling that because Dragas voluntarily did the work, the insurance companies had no obligation to pay for it under federal law.

But the appeals court in Richmond on Monday ruled that federal courts lack jurisdiction over the matter and sent the case back to the Norfolk federal judge with instructions to dismiss it.

The appeals court ruled that because the parties exist in Virginia, the case belongs in state court.

That essentially keeps Dragas’ claim alive, although either side can try to appeal further to the U.S. Supreme Court.

More of the story here

Read more about Chinese Drywall issues in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads here

Va. court: Insurance doesn’t cover drywall damages

chinese-drywall virginiaThe state Supreme Court handed down a decision Thursday that legal experts say closes the door on Virginia homeowners’ attempts to obtain payments from their insurance companies for damages caused by defective Chinese drywall.

The court agreed with an earlier ruling that damage caused by drywall in Larry Ward’s Virginia Beach home was not covered because of several exclusions in Ward’s policy with TravCo Insurance Co.

Legal experts said the decision in TravCo v. Ward probably will prevent hundreds of homeowners from receiving payments from their insurance companies.

"To me, what these kind of cases illustrate is the Swiss cheese nature of homeowners’ insurance policies," said Tom Baker, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "There are all these different exclusions that exclude things that people really need insurance for."

Ward bought a new home in Virginia Beach in 2007 built with defective Chinese drywall, which emits noxious odors and corrodes household appliances and equipment. He filed a claim with TravCo in 2009, but the company denied it and then sought a judgment from courts.

A lower court ruled in TravCo’s favor in 2010, and Ward appealed.

The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled Thursday that the drywall was not covered because Ward’s policy contained four exclusions: latent defects; faulty, inadequate or defective materials; rust or corrosion; and pollutants, which include gaseous irritants or contaminants.

 More of the story here

Read more about Chinese Drywall issues in Hampton Roads and Williamsburg here

$13M settlement reached in Chinese drywall cases

Insurance companies and local attorneys representing Hampton Roads
homeowners who had sulfur-emitting drywall made in China installed in their homes reached a $13 million settlement June 20 in Norfolk Circuit Court.

The settlement involves companies that imported and sold the drywall, as well as numerous other builders and firms involved in the cases, and about 200 local homeowners.

The legal battle over who will pay to fix the properties is now in its 38th month. Many homeowners have already abandoned their properties or lost them through foreclosure or bankruptcy. Others have sold their homes, sometimes for less than half of what they paid.

Two insurance companies were involved in the settlement announced Wednesday. Venture Supply and its affiliate company Porter-Blaine Corp. were insured by Hanover Insurance Group. Dozens of other defendants, among them contractors, builders and developers, were insured by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. and its affiliates

The settlement must be approved by a federal judge in New Orleans. Disbursements are expected to be made in November, and the remaining 80 cases are not resolved.

The drywall is blamed for sulfur emissions that corrode wires, air conditioning units, electrical appliances and metal fixtures.

A court-appointed specialist will determine how much each victim will receive by looking at a variety of factors including improvements made, when the house was sold, short sale, foreclosure, and who the builder and insurance company were.

The settlement will go before a federal judge in New Orleans next month for a preliminary approval, and final approval of the deal could come by Nov. 13.

Read past stories about Chinese Drywall issues in Hampton Roads here

Chinese Drywall Settlement Imminent in Hampton Roads

A legal settlement between Hampton Roads homeowners whose properties were built with tainted Chinese-made drywall and the companies they filed suits against is expected to be announced today during a hearing at the Norfolk Circuit Court, according to an attorney involved in the cases.

More than 170 homeowners in the region have sued local companies that distributed and built homes with the product, which federal product-safety regulators have found emits gases that corrode metal in homes and recommended it be removed.

Settlement talks have been ongoing for a few months, said Mark Nanavati, an attorney for Venture Supply Inc., the Norfolk company that imported the Chinese drywall. He told The Pilot of the pending settlement in an email but declined to disclose the details.

The legal battle over who will pay to fix the properties is in its 38th month. Many homeowners have already abandoned their properties or lost them through foreclosure or bankruptcy. Others have sold their homes for sometimes less than half of what they paid.

Read more of the story here

Read past stories about Chinese Drywall issues in Hampton Roads here

Va Beach Homeowners gain traction in Chinese-drywall fight

A Circuit Court judge on Wednesday entered a default judgment against the Chinese manufacturer that produced the tainted drywall that emits corrosive fumes that made some local homes unlivable.

It was the first time that Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. had appeared in a local court, more than two years after the company was first named as a defendant in a lawsuit. The company has since been named in numerous lawsuits in Virginia and across the country.

Taishan sold more than 150,000 sheets of drywall to a Norfolk construction supplier in 2005 and 2006, when U.S.-made wallboard became scarce during the building boom. Federal product safety regulators have found that the drywall emits gases that corrode metal in homes and recommended it be ripped out of homes.

In the case related to Wednesday’s hearing, Ben and Holly Proto of Virginia Beach sued several firms including Venture Supply Inc., the Norfolk company that imported the Chinese drywall. Venture Supply later named Taishan as a third-party defendant and served the company in China in December 2010. The Chinese company didn’t respond to the suit within the 21 days required by law.

Read more of the story here

Read more about Chinese Drywall issues in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads VA here

Good To Know

chinese-drywall virginiaAs of July 1st, the Virginia  General Assembly is FINALLY enacting a law that requires home sellers and landlords to disclose the existence of known defective (“Chinese”) drywall in a home. Believe it or not prior to July 1st you did not have to let prospective buyers know.

Disclosure is required of REO ( Bank Owned)  and foreclosed property holders as well, unlike the requirements of the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act.

Sad that it took over five years from the first report of  defective Chinese Drywall for legislators to act.

Read more about Chinese Drywall issues in Hampton Roads and Williamsburg VA here

No Action On Chinese Drywall Cases in Hampton Roads-Owners in Limbo

Two years have passed since Colleen Nguyen and her family left their spacious waterfront home in Virginia Beach’s Little Neck neighborhood.

It is one of hundreds in the region built with tainted Chinese-made drywall, which federal product safety regulators say emits sulfur gasses that corrode metal in homes. Homeowners say the fumes cause illness and make their homes unlivable.

These days, the home’s only inhabitants are the small spiders that spin cobwebs along barren kitchen and living room walls.

Nguyen is one of more than 170 Hampton Roads homeowners whose lives have been in limbo since the discovery of the problem drywall in the early months of 2009. The legal battle over who will pay to fix the properties is in its 26th month, with seemingly no resolution in sight. Many have abandoned their properties or lost them through foreclosure or bankruptcy. Others have sold their homes for sometimes less than half of what they paid.

When supplies of U.S.-made drywall became scarce in 2005 during the building boom, a Norfolk construction supplier imported more than 150,000 sheets of Chinese-made drywall. That was enough to build more than 300 homes.

One of the region’s largest builders – The Dragas Cos. – paid to fix 73 condos it built with the problem wallboard. In the Williamsburg VA area there have been a number of homes with Chinese Drywall that have been remediated by the builders. But many other local builders who constructed homes with the product have been unwilling or unable to fix them.

It’s been more than a year since a federal judge in New Orleans awarded $2.6 million to five Virginia homeowners in a lawsuit against Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., the company that manufactured the drywall that was imported into Hampton Roads.

It was a short-lived victory. Taishan, which originally didn’t respond to the lawsuit, filed an appeal two months later. Now, the foreign company is challenging whether U.S. courts even have jurisdiction over it.

Meanwhile, local lawsuits against the drywall importer, developers and builders also have hit snags.

Read more of the story here

Read more about Chinese Drywall Issues in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads VA here

CDC Review Finds No Link Between Chinese Drywall and 11 Reported Deaths in U.S.

A review provided to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health finds that there is no evidence linking exposure to Chinese Drywall and 11 reported deaths in Louisiana, Florida and Virginia homes .

The CDC said in the report that the people died without exception due to "preexisting chronic health conditions unrelated to imported drywall exposure."

The findings by the Atlanta-based health agency back up previous findings by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The CDC found that seven of the 11 people who died had cancer and seven had heart problems. For the review, state medical examiners and the CDC probed 10 deaths in Louisiana and Florida—five in each state—and a single death in Virginia.

The deaths were reported to regulators as possibly being linked to drywall.

Still, federal regulators say the health risk of Chinese drywall remains a concern.

Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the safety commission, said "hundreds, if not thousands" of homeowners have reported problems with nosebleeds, respiratory problems and other symptoms that could possibly be linked to Chinese drywall.

This study included the death of a homeowner in James City County. The VA. State Medical examiner reviewed medical records of an 82-year-old person who had chronic heart disease, acute cholecystitis, and pneumonia before death. The medical examiner reported that no clinical evidence existed in the record to link the person’s death to “exposure of construction materials containing strontium sulfide” (Chinese Drywall)

chinese-drywall virginiaYou can read the CDC review  here.

CPSC is in the final stages of completing its scientific investigation into Chinese drywall. As part of this process, CPSC has requested that the CDC consider undertaking a comprehensive study of any possible long-term health effects.

For additional findings from the Interagency Drywall Task Force’s investigation, visit www.DrywallResponse.gov

Continue reading

Details On Chinese Drywall Settlement In Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida

Christopher A. Seeger of Seeger Weiss LLP  part of a negotiating team that included Arnold Levin of Levin Fishbein Sedran & Berman and Russ M. Herman of Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar, LLP, have obtained a breakthrough settlement to remediate homes affected by Chinese drywall in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida.  The agreement was reached with Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT), Exterior Building Supply, Banner Supply Co., the Louisiana Homebuilders Indemnity Trust, QBE Insurance Group, Chartis and State Farm Insurance, and other Knauf entities.

Knauf in partnership with builders, suppliers and insurers, will fund a demonstration remediation program, which will facilitate the removal of KPT drywall from up to 300 homes in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. If successful, it is expected that this pilot program will be expanded to remediate thousands of homes with KPT drywall

Seeger Weiss  served at the forefront of the Chinese Drywall litigation and was Trial Counsel in two bellwether cases this year: Michelle Germano, et al. v. Taishan Gypsum Co., Ltd., f/k/a Shandong Taihe Dongxin, Co., Ltd., et al., which resulted in a verdict of $2.6 million and which was the first of thousands of drywall claims to come to court; and Tatum B. Hernandez, et al. v. Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd., et al., which resulted in a verdict of $164,000, and which followed the first case in less than a month. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana appointed Christopher Seeger to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2047) in September 2009. Seeger also chairs the Trial Committee, which oversees trial teams for all pending Chinese drywall actions.

The demonstration program applies to homes which contain all, or substantially all, KPT drywall.  The program will provide:

  • removal of the drywall;
  • replacement of all electrical wiring, including switches and receptacles;
  • replacement of fire safety and home security equipment;
  • replacement of fixtures damaged by the problem drywall;
  • restoration of the home to the same construction quality and finishes that existed prior to the start of the remediation work;
  • compensation to the homeowner for alternative living costs during the remediation, moving and storage and personal property damage;
  • the reservation of rights for bodily injury;
  • attorneys fees and expenses to be negotiated by the PSC and KPT and to be paid by KPT.

As outlined in the settlement, KPT will retain and supervise contractors to do the work on a cost-effective basis. The completed homes will be inspected by environmental engineers, who will certify to the homeowner that their home is free of problem drywall odors and contamination.

Chinese gypsum board was used by many builders in recent years as a low-cost alternative to American-made products. Many of the damaged homes are in Florida, Virginia and throughout the Gulf region, where builders used the Chinese wallboard to construct new homes following Hurricane Katrina and other storms, and throughout the housing bubble. In the past several years more than 7,000  U.S. homeowners have filed similar suits alleging that noxious sulfuric fumes from the defective drywall have caused extensive property damage to their homes, including corrosion of  plumbing, electrical wiring, and appliances. These outcomes will continue to have a huge impact on drywall litigation pending around the country.

"These initial decisions in Louisiana are hugely important for thousands of homeowners who have been living with the poltergeist effects caused by this defective material in their midst. The high concentrations of sulfur, strontium, and other toxins released by this inferior drywall has permeated their residences, destroyed their property," said Mr. Seeger.

Read more about Chinese Drywall Issues in Hampton Roads And Williamsburg VA Here

 

To see a list of addresses in Virginia where Chinese drywall was delivered, this is a delivery manifest from  Venture Drywall Supply. The list was compiled for national litigation.

Click here to see delivery manifest for Williamsburg and Hampton Roads VA

IRS To Give Tax Break To Chinese Drywall Homeowners

In the first large-scale effort by the federal government to provide financial relief to owners of properties with toxic drywall, the Internal Revenue Service has announced it would allow homeowners with problem drywall to treat the damages incurred as a casualty loss for tax purposes.

To receive the tax break, homeowners must have started the process of repairing their home with their own money, have spent at least $500, and the amounts paid for repairs must exceed 10 percent of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income. The cost of replacing appliances ruined by corrosive drywall also counts for the tax break.

The IRS says it will give tax breaks to homeowners who suffered property losses due to bad Chinese drywall installed in their homes between 2001 and 2009. The IRS says repairs to homes and household appliances can be treated as casualty losses. People can file amended tax returns to claim the deduction.

Chinese drywall was installed in thousands of homes across the nation, including in Florida, Mississippi and Virginia. It has caused problems ranging from a foul odor to corrosion of pipes and wiring.

Read more about Chinese Drywall issues in Hampton Roads and Williamsburg VA here

Hampton Roads Home Buyers Beware

Did a recent article in both the Virginia Pilot and the Wall Street Journal cause Prudential Towne Realty to disclose the existence of Chinese Drywall in one of their listings ?

An article in the Virginian-Pilot of Hampton Roads and the Wall Street Journal reported that real estate agents have listed “several houses” built with tainted, Chinese-made drywall . These homes, understandably, are being listed at steeply-discounted prices. But the Wellingotnhome listings offered no indication of drywall problems.

Kimber Smith president of Prudential Towne’s Peninsula division stated “It’s not in the public remarks because we certainly want people to inquire about the property,” He commented that prominently advertising the drywall is not in the best interest of the seller.


It also could be argued that this tactic isn’t in the best interest of the buyer, who likely isn’t interested in buying a home that needs to be completely gutted and therefore is wasting his time even looking at the home.

Apparently he rethought his statement. The PUBLIC Description now reads:

“Chinese drywall material is present in this property”

At $207,000, the five-bedroom, 2,700-square-foot home in Williamsburg sounds like a phenomenal deal, even in this housing market.

“Yes the price is correct!” read the real estate listing in the local MLS. “What an opportunity. Property to convey ‘as is, where is.’ ”

Sure, that’s a discount, but would it be worth the hassle and risk to gut it? Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s advice to homeowners living with the Chinese drywall is to simply get rid of it, the crisis is so new that it is still unknown whether any long-term effects will linger.

And besides, most homebuyers want to buy a home that’s ready for them to move into, not one that’s going to take them months if not years until it’s move-in ready.

The home above is one of several houses containing tainted Chinese-made drywall that have been popping up in the Hampton Roads real estate market recently. At least a half-dozen such homes were listed for sale this week in REIN and WAAR MLS.

Hollymeade VillageAlthough some disclose to the public the presence of the drywall, other listings disclose that information only in private remarks section viewable by real estate agents.( Note, I am a real estate agent and will gladly share all information I know with clients who work with me.)

. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that the wallboard emits higher levels of volatile sulfur gases than typical U.S.-made drywall and probably is causing metal corrosion in homes. The commission has recommended that home­owners rip out the problem wallboard, electrical wiring and natural gas piping.

Numerous other listed homes also offer potential buyers no hints that there is anything wrong with the properties.

“Elegant tri-level townhome in Hollymeade Village,” stated one listing for a home on  Avondale Lane in Newport News.

Although no study has yet linked the drywall to specific health problems, homeowners have complained of respiratory issues and headaches, and an April report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission identified five brands of Chinese-made “problem drywall,” and said that some Chinese-made samples emitting hydrogen sulfide at a rate 100 times greater than non-Chinese drywall boards.

Also in April, seven homeowners—four of them in Williamsburg—were awarded $2.6 million by a federal judge in Louisiana for damages to their homes caused by drywall produced by Taishan Gypsum, although some legal experts say the homeowners are unlikely to collect because the company is owned by the Chinese government.

What say you? Would you even consider buying a home with tainted drywall, even at a $150,000  discount?

Do you think sellers should be required to reveal the presence of Chinese Drywall in public comments ?

Read more about Chinese Drywall issues in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads Virginia here

 

To see a list of addresses in Virginia where Chinese drywall was delivered, this is a delivery manifest from  Venture Drywall Supply. The list was compiled for national litigation.

James City County Drops Assessments on Chinese Drywall homes to $100

James City County  has agreed to reduce assessments on every home with Chinese Drywall to $100.

James City County supervisors had previously asked staff to look into the possibility of offering residents with corrosive Chinese drywall in their homes a substantial tax break.

Chairman Jim Kennedy said some people in his district had contacted him regarding the defective drywall in their homes. Many cannot afford to tackle the extensive renovations needed to repair their homes, Kennedy said, and probably can’t sell the home, either. Some residents have told Kennedy they can’t live in their homes and are facing bankruptcy and foreclosure.

Cases of Chinese drywall have been reported in numerous James City County homes to date, in neighborhoods that include Stonehouse, Wellington, Braemar Creek, Kensington Woods, and New Town. To date, the county has been contacting builders to rectify the problem if a home is two years old or less; after that, the matter has passed the statute of limitations in the state.

Read more about Chinese drywall issues in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads Va here

Read more about the Chinese drywall issue on the county’s website here.

Virginia forms Chinese Drywall Task Force

Jim Cheng the, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade has appointed a task force to develop the state’s strategy for dealing with drywall from China that has prompted complaints nationwide.

chinese-drywall virginia Cheng decided to form the group after a visit last month to Newport News, where dozens of homes in Hollymeade have been identified as containing the Chinese drywall. Cheng says the panel will form a plan for responding to any action taken by the federal government on the drywall problem

Cheng’s office announced Thursday that the state would gather together a group of experts, state officials, lawmakers and homeowners  to try to come up with a way for the state to help people trapped in toxic homes The working group includes Del. G. Glenn Oder, R-Newport News, who helped arrange for Cheng to visit, and Sen. John Miller, D-Newport News.

More than 2,360 homeowners nationwide have said the drywall made them sick and corroded wiring and HVAC systems throughout their homes.

Locally, Chinese drywall has affected homes in Newport News, York County, Williamsburg and South Hampton Roads.  Neighborhoods where the product has been discovered include :Hollymeade,  Braemar Creek, New Town, Wellington and Kensington Woods, all in James City,  Overlook Point in York, The Hampshires at Greenbrier, and Cromwell Park on the Southside.

The Chinese Drywall Information Center is a great resource for homeowners who believe their home may have been built with defective drywall.  It seems as if the majority of homes constructed with Chinese drywall were built during the years of 2004-2008.  This period was an era of “Hurricane Reconstruction,” during which the supply of American drywall could not meet the levels of demand.  An influx in imported drywall ensued, now at the center of multidistrict litigation in federal court.

Read more about Chinese Drywall in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads here

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5395 This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf.  John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market.  His websites, www.WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com  and   www.MrWilliamsburg.com, were created as a comprehensive resource about living in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads, with the hopes of selling a house now and again.  You can reach him at 757.254.8136 or John@MrWilliamsburg.com.

Judge Weighs damages in Chinese Drywall Case

Some Virginia homeowners who are plaintiffs in the first federal Chinese drywall trial gave testimony yesterday about the toll the disaster has taken on their lives. According to a report in the Associated Press, their testimony at times became emotional.

At least 3,000 people from across the country have filed suit over defective Chinese drywall. All of the Chinese drywall lawsuits filed in federal courts have been consolidated in the US District Court in New Orleans under Judge Eldon E. Fallon as part of a multidistrict litigation.

The first case in the multidistrict litigation involves seven Virginia plaintiffs whose homes have drywall manufactured by China-based Taishan Gypsum Co. It is considered a bellwether, or test case, and is expected to set a minimum threshold for fixing homes where defective drywall was installed. Blame is not at issue in this case because a default judgment has already been issued against Taishan Gypsum for failing to respond to lawsuits.

According to the Associated Press, Jerry Baldwin, 59, of Williamsburg, Virginia, testified that Chinese drywall in the home he and his wife purchased in 2006 appliances, electronics and the home’s air conditioning system. He and his wife can’t afford to move out he said, and the financial fallout from the disaster will likely mean he will put off his retirement.

Another homeowner, Lisa Orlando, told the court that they noticed a “baby diaper” smell shortly after moving into their Williamsburg home last year. Orlando’s family has moved out of their home, and are paying rent in excess of their mortgage.

William Morgan, also of Williamsburg, testified that he and his wife were forced to file bankruptcy last year, after their move to a rental home left them in a financial bind.

The plaintiffs are arguing that the only way to truly fix their homes is to gut them down to the studs. The costs calculated for remediation itself, based on bids solicited independently from two Virginia builders, averaged about $86 per square foot, or roughly $172,000 for a typical 2,000- square-foot home. The plaintiffs are seeking $2.5 million – about $1.2 million would cover remediation, with at least another $1.3 million for damages beyond the remediation.

Judge Fallon’s ruling is expected in a few weeks. However, if the plaintiffs are successful, they could still have trouble collecting against Taishan, since civil judgments in U.S. courts aren’t enforced in China. According to the Associated Press, plaintiffs lawyers said they will try to seize the company’s U.S.-bound vessels and shipments if the company continues to ignore the litigation.

 

Read more about other Chinese Drywall in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads Va

Chinese Drywall Bills Fails to pass the House

A House committee Thursday voted down two bills dealing with insurance coverage of Chinese drywall.

The first would have ensured that Virginia home-owners could file claims with their home insurance companies for property damage caused by Chinese-made drywall.

The second would have prevented home insurers from canceling policies or raising rates on properties because they were built with the drywall. Both were sponsored by Del. Glenn Oder, R-Newport News.

While lawmakers agreed owners of homes built with Chinese drywall deserve relief, they weren’t sure that going through insurance companies was the best way for them to go about getting it.

They said they were uncomfortable with the second bill because they didn’t think state code should tell insurance companies when they can or can’t raise rates.

Locally, Chinese drywall has affected homes in Newport News, York County, Williamsburg/ James City County  and Southside Hampton Roads.

Read more about Chinese Drywall issues in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads Virginia here

Bill passed to keep Insurers from Cancelling policies on Chinese Drywall Homes

A bill to prevent home insurers from canceling policies or raising rates on homeowners because their properties were built with Chinese-made drywall passed the Virginia Senate on Monday.

The bill was introduced by State Sen. John C. Miller, D-Newport News. A similar bill, introduced in the House by Del. Glenn Oder, R-Newport News, is still being reviewed by the House committee on Commerce and Labor.

Another bill introduced by Oder seeks to ensure individuals can file a claim with their home insurer on property damage caused by the tainted drywall. It too is waiting for action by the House committee

Read more about Chinese Drywall issues in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads VA here

Chinese Drywall Town Hall Meeting

Nearly 150 people  attended a town hall meeting in Williamsburg hosted by  Richard J. Serpe, an attorney representing about 70 families whose homes contain Chinese drywall. Many were from Hollymeade Village, a Newport News town-home development. Others were from Williamsburg-area developments.
They’re among about 2,775 reports of the defective building material that have surfaced in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most of the homes were built in 2006 and 2007. More than 90 percent of the reports are from Florida, Louisiana and Virginia.

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House Passes Resolution to Aid Chinese Drywall Victims

By a vote of 419 to 1 the House of Representatives today approved Congressman Glenn Nye’s resolution (H.Con.Res.197) asking banks and mortgage servicers to provide assistance to homeowners struggling with toxic drywall in their homes. Nye has been leading the effort in Congress to deliver relief to families in Hampton Roads affected by toxic drywall.

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