St. Tammany Parish resident files lawsuit over Chinese drywall

Michelle Massey Aug. 5, 2010, 5:52am

Russell Herman

Stephen Herman

Five years after completing renovations on his Slidell home after Hurricane Katrina, Hiram Mason claims he discovered Chinese-manufactured drywall throughout his home and has filed a lawsuit to recover damages to his person and property.

Hiram L. Mason, Jr. filed suit against Springhill, Southern Homes, Interior Exterior Building Supply, Interior Exterior Enterprises, Arch Insurance Co., The North River Insurance Co., Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., Landmark Insurance Co. and Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. July 29 in Orleans Parish District Court.

The property is located on Heather Lane in Slidell. Mason states he bought his home, with warranty, in July 2005 from defendant Springhill for approximately $190,880.

In August 2005, Mason's home was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. He renovated the house for a cost of approximately $97,611. The renovations included the purchase and installation of building materials including electrical components, plumbing components and drywall.

Mason says upon moving back into his newly-renovated home he began experiencing multiple problems including issues with the air conditioning, electrical and plumbing systems.

According to the complaint, Mason discovered his home had Chinese-manufactured drywall marked "Knauf Tianjin China" in August 2009.

"On further investigation, Petitioner discovered that the Chinese Drywall used to renovate the Home was causing damage to his person and property including, but not limited to, HVAC coils, electrical wiring, electrical fixtures and plumbing components," the lawsuit reads.

Mason states the Chinese drywall makes the home unfit and useless.

Causes of action filed against defendants include breach of warranties, negligence and violations of the Louisiana Products Liability Act.

Further, the plaintiff argues that the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act is unconstitutional by restricting the rights of the individual, denying justice and failing to protect the happiness and general welfare of the people. Mason is asking the Judge to enter a declaratory judgment finding the Act unconstitutional. Mason is asking the Court for an award of economic damages, interest, court costs and attorney fees.

New Orleans attorneys Russ M. Herman, Steven J. Lane, Leonard A. Davis, Stephen J. Herman, Joseph E. Cain and Jeremy S. Epstein of Herman, Herman, Katz and Cotlar are representing the plaintiffs.

Judge Lloyd J. Medley is assigned to the case.

Case No. 10-7808

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