Chinese Drywall Update: Knauf Settles with Beazer for $18 per Square Foot

Since losing decisively in court last month, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin has been courting builders with offers to settle claims relating to Chinese drywall. Last week, Knauf announced that it has reached a settlement with Beazer Homes to compensate the builder for its bad drywall losses — for a reported sum of $18 per square foot, far short of the damages awarded to plaintiffs by Federal Judge Eldon Fallon. The Fort Myers News-Press has the story (" Beazer reaches settlement with Chinese drywall manufacturer," by Mary Wozniak). Attorneys for homeowners say the settlement amount is too low to cover their costs. "This settlement amount is obscene," Boca Raton attorney Allison Grant told the Palm Beach Post (" Impact of Chinese drywall settlement unclear for those in South Florida," by Allison Ross). But Grant pointed out that it's not yet clear whether Beazer will continue to pursue other defendants for more money. Cases pulled into New Orleans Federal court's Multidistrict Litigation process have mentioned other targets, including importers, distributors, drywall contractors, and insurance companies. And last week, new information emerged indicating that one Florida drywall distributor, Banner Supply, knew as far back as 2006 that it had supplied builders and homeowners with contaminated drywall — but kept quiet under a confidential agreement with Knauf Tianjin, the Miami Herald reports (" Miami supplier knew of Chinese drywall problems," by Nirvi Shah). Writes the Herald, "When the distributor turned to the manufacturer with complaints from builders, the Chinese company replaced Banner Supply's inventory of Chinese-made drywall with American-made products. But Miami-based Banner Supply never said anything about the complaints to the government or customers who didn't complain, information that could have prevented thousands of other homeowners from getting into the expensive, smelly predicaments they now face."