Attorneys filed a class action lawsuit in New Orleans federal court on December 10 against Chinese drywall manufacturers Knauf Tianjin, Knauf Wuhu, and Knauf Dongguan (subsidiaries of the German firm Knauf Gips). Named as additional defendants alongside the German-owned Chinese firms are dozens of U.S. importers, distributors, building material suppliers, builders, and drywall installation contractors. More than 2,000 homeowners are enrolled in the suit as plaintiffs — at their head, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Peyton, whose Mandeville home was built with drywall made by Knauf, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune (" New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is lead plaintiff in Chinese drywall suit", by Rebecca Mowbray). Peyton's high profile in New Orleans and nationally is only one reason for selecting him as lead plaintiff. His particular case also happens to be unusually well documented, the Times-Picayune reports: "With more resources to get to the root of the problem than many other people who have problem drywall in their homes, Payton and his family moved out of their house, then systematically took it apart. They took photos of the evidence along the way, then stored the damaged components in a warehouse, where KPT, the manufacturer, was able to inspect it." The formal complaint in the case (available here) runs to 591 pages. Most of those pages, however, are devoted to a long list of the parties to the suit — 383 pages just to list the 2,068 plaintiffs, and another 120 pages to introduce the defendants. Along with Knauf Gips and its three Chinese affiliates, the suit breaks out 43 distributor and supplier defendants (listed in alphabetical order, from 84 Lumber to Venture Supply Company), a handful of brokers and distributors, and nearly 500 builders, developers, and subcontractors, from Aburton Homes to Wellington Drywall (both Florida companies). Additional pages are taken up with a list describing which of the smaller defendants are linked to which of the 2,000-plus plaintiffs. Although every plaintiff in the case is suing Knauf, only one or a few may be suing a particular drywall contractor or builder named in the suit. As a class action suit, of course, the case will not examine every house involved. Instead, a handful of "bellwether" trials are planned to establish basic facts relating to the material and the damage it causes. The first case, a "bench trial" with no jury set to begin in January, involves seven Virginia homeowners whose drywall was allegedly made by Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., a Chinese-owned company, reports the Sarasota Herald Tribune (" First Chinese drywall trial is set for January", by Aaron Kessler). Taishan, which is owned by the Chinese government, shows no indication of intending to participate in the trial, reports the Herald Tribune. "However, because of the high stakes, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd., one of the other Chinese manufacturers, is expected to intervene on Taishan's behalf to present the defense," the paper reports. "Knauf Tianjin itself will be the subject of the next bellwether trial -- the first with a jury -- in late February." It's too early to tell what recourse homeowners whose drywall was made by other Chinese manufacturers may have in the court. But Judge Eldon Fallon, who presides over the New Orleans court where the thousands of federal cases are being consolidated, is clearly aware that the case involves many more drywall makers. On the court's website for the Chinese drywall "Multi-District Litigation" is a page of links to photos of the distinctive identifying markings for 26 different versions of Chinese-made drywall — including 11 types whose makers are unknown.