Judge Rules in Favor of Homeowners in Chinese Drywall Case

A judge in Florida ruled that a homeowners insurance company will be responsible for paying for a local resident’s home that had damage as a result of toxic Chinese-made drywall. This ruling contradicts one made at the end of 2010 when a judge decided an insurance company was not liable for similar damage.

Florida Insurance Company Required to Pay

Judge Robert Foster of the Hillsborough County determined that gas emanating from the drywall was an “unforeseen occurrence” that caused a “chemical reaction.” As a result, he decided that there was no exclusion in the Springfield, Ill-based Teachers Insurance Co. policy that should stop the insurance company from paying to fix Craig and Melissa Walker’s home in Odessa, Florida.

At the time he did not determine how much money the policy should pay to the Walkers. A jury will determine the amount after a trial date is set.

The Walkers had suffered as a result of the drywall issue, having to move out of their home two years ago yet paying for their mortgage in the home as well as rent in another house that they lived in as they waited out the case. The family expressed that while they were sad to keep waiting, they were relieved by the judge’s decision.

Ruling Contradicts 2010 Decision

The Chinese drywall problem has been in legal stages for over a year. After homeowners realized their homes were built from toxic drywall that had corroded pipes and even made families sick, they contacted their insurance companies to replace the drywall.

It was then that they found out their insurance companies were not only refusing to cover the cost of repairs (which could exceed $100,000) but were dropping the homeowners from their policies.

In Jan. 2010, hundreds of homeowners filed a federal lawsuit against insurance companies that refused to pay to replace the drywall. In December of last year, a judge in Louisiana determined that while he understood the issues the homeowners faced, he was ruling in favor of insurance companies and ultimately dismissed the case.