Banner Supply Company was ordered Tuesday to pay hundreds of Florida homeowners $55 million dollars for selling them Chinese drywall that emitted sulfurous gases, according to Reuters. The gas smells horrible and is believed to have damaged wiring and appliances and caused illnesses in the homes where it was installed.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that the plaintiff's attorney, Ervin Gonzales, called it "a substantial development in Chinese drywall litigation," which has been a growing story in South Florida since builders began importing cheap Chinese drywall to keep up with the housing boom between 2003 and 2008.
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It's estimated that as many as 35,000 Florida homes were built with the faulty drywall over the past decade.
And it looks like Banner Supply made some pretty bad decisions along the way: When customers complained in 2006, Banner went to their German supplier with the issues. After tests came back, the supplier said everything was fine and somehow got Banner to release the company from any liability. Now Banner's SOL, but they've learned a $55 million lesson: If your walls smell like fart and give people nosebleeds, you shouldn't be signing any liability waivers.
(For more information on the genesis of the Chinese drywall problem, see "Homesick," last year's New Times investigation.)