Settlement reached in Florida drywall case

One of the largest Florida suppliers of tainted drywall has reached a preliminary settlement with a group of plaintiffs, counsels for the parties announced June 15. 

The insurers of Banner Supply Co. and its various subsidiaries have agreed to pay $55 million to homeowners in Florida who claim their homes were built with contaminated Chinese drywall.  

One of the plaintiffs' attorneys, Russ Herman of New Orleans, said that attorneys for the plaintiffs "continue to engage in negotiations with other responsible parties, and [they] expect other settlement developments within the next 60 days. This is an ongoing process to secure complete relief for affected homeowners."

Michael Peterson, Banner's counsel, of the firm Peterson and Espino of Miami, said, "Our business has thrived for over 58 years because our customers have trusted us. We are settling this matter to bring a resolution for our customers and to allow the homeowners to fix their homes. We regret that this could not have been achieved sooner, but Banner recognizes that prolonged litigation would not have accomplished this goal."

According to the plaintiffs' counsel, it is estimated that 60,000 to 100,000 homes were built using defective Chinese drywall from a number of suppliers between 2004 and 2008 throughout the country. The defective drywall has been associated with unpleasant and potentially harmful odors and fumes that corrode metals, including air conditioning units, fixtures and other appliances.  

The proposed settlement must receive approval from U.S. District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon before it can be considered final.