Insurance company seeks dismissal as defendant in Chinese drywall suit

Alejandro de los Rios Oct. 19, 2010, 4:27am


Counsel representing Rockhill Insurance Company have filed a motion for summary judgment to be dismissed as defendants in a Chinese drywall suit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Orleans Parish residents Simon and Rebecca Finger are suing Rockhill, along with a dozen other insurance companies that held policies with McMath Construction Inc. and Interior/Exterior Building Supply since those companies renovated the Fingers' house.

New Orleans attorneys Alan Kanner and Melissa Fuselier filed the original petition for damages in July 2009, amending it in September and November 2009. The suit claims that McMath, it's suppliers and insurers, are all liable for the alleged damage caused by Chinese drywall in the Fingers' residence.

The suit lists five causes of action including breach of warranty, breach of implied warranty, product liability and fraudulent concealment. Plaintiffs dismissed defendants from a claim in their first and second petitions that the defendants had violated the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practice Act.

New Orleans attorney Melanie Lockett is representing Rockhill. She filed a motion for summary judgment in August asking for Rockhill's dismissal on basis of "manifestation theory," which states: "property damage [is] considered to have occurred when it became manifest, regardless of when the act from which it resulted occurred."

The plaintiffs disclose in their suit that they purchased their house in December 2005 and had to renovate it due to damage it sustained during hurricane Katrina. The suit also states that the couple discovered the Chinese drywall and the damages it caused in 2009. Rockhill's policy with McMath lasted a year from March 2007 to 2008.

Orleans Parish judge Piper Griffin will hear arguments for and against Rockhill's motion October 22.

Orleans Parish Case 2009-07004

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