Landmark drywall suit settled
A landmark settlement in toxic drywall cases was reached today, one that may bring relief to thousands of homeowners and put an end to hundreds of state and federal cases filed against insulation manufacturers.
Judge Eldon Fallon, United States District Court in New Orleans, presided over a consolidation of cases involving Chinese imported drywall that homeowners claimed have created a toxic atmosphere in their homes. In today’s announcement, the. Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) and Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT) jointly agreed on terms that will put an end to all future litigation against Knauf and its subsdiaries.
The settlement is intended to cover all plaintiffs in the drywall litigations in both federal and state court whose homes or businesses have KPT drywall. Approximately 5200 plaintiffs have specifically alleged that their homes contain KPT drywall; of these, approximately 2700 have submitted in some form evidence of the presence of KPT drywall. Plaintiffs include homeowners, commercial owners and tenants, as well as multi-unit properties and prior owners of foreclosed properties or those who have engaged in short sales due to the presence of KPT drywall.
The Remediation Fund has three options:
Program Contractor Remediation Option. The Program Remediation Option provides the class member with the convenience of having Moss & Associates, who has been approved by the PSC and the Knauf Defendants, remediate the class member’s property. For more information on the drywall remediation program, please visit: http://www.mosscm.com/drywall/
Self-Remediation Option. The Self-Remediation Option provides the class member with the choice to select his or her own qualified contractor to remediate the property
Cash-Out Option. The Cash-Out Option provides a cash payment with no obligation to remediate the property but the amount of cash will be less than the amount that would be expended under the two remediation options and the homeowner must take steps to assure, among other things, notice to subsequent purchasers of the presence of KPT drywall.
The scope of the remediation repair will cover all affected drywall, and with limited exceptions, unaffected drywall, will be removed from the home, and replaced with domestic drywall; the electrical wiring, smoke alarms, fire alarms, and other safety systems will be replaced; and the parties have agreed on a protocol for replacement of built-in appliances, such as refrigerators and microwaves.
Moving and storage expenses will be covered under a stipend to cover the costs of moving and storage, during the remediation, and to pay for damaged personal appliances.
The settlement ultimately is subject to final approval by Judge Fallon, pending a fairness hearing that will be scheduled in 2012.
Professor Stephen Saltzburg, a law professor at George Washington University Law School, and an expert in mass tort settlements, reviewed the settlement terms, stating that "the settlement is a very creative solution to a very complex problem." He added, "The plaintiffs received complete remediation – all costs covered – with no reduction in plaintiffs’ recovery for attorneys’ fees or costs. It is unlikely that plaintiffs will do better in separate litigation. It is, in short, a settlement that appears fair, comprehensive and just."
Executive succession at Mohawk
Mohawk Industries has announced the appointment of Brian Carson as president of Mohawk’s flooring business unit and John "J.T." Turner Jr. as president of the Dal-Tile business unit. Both appointments are effective Jan. 2, 2012.
Carson and Turner will succeed Frank Peters, current president of the Mohawk flooring business unit, and Harold Turk, current president of Dal-Tile. Both Peters and Turk will continue with the company by leading strategic development activities in their respective segments, according to the announcement.
Carson joined Mohawk in 2006, after 16 years with Armstrong World Industries, where he held a number of senior leadership roles. He started with Mohawk as president of hard surfaces in the Mohawk flooring business unit and was later promoted to VP operations division. In early 2011, Carson was promoted to his current role as chief operating officer of the Mohawk flooring business unit.
Turner began his career with Dal-Tile in 1990, progressing through a series of leadership roles in sales, operations and general management throughout the business. In 2005, Turner was promoted to senior VP sales and in 2008 was appointed senior VP operations. He assumed his current responsibilities as chief operating officer of Dal-Tile in early 2011.
Retail container traffic to be up slightly in December
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should be up 0.3% in December compared with the same month last year, as retailers head to the finish line of the holiday shopping season, according to the monthly “Global Port Tracker” report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“The uptick we’re expecting for December isn’t large at all but it comes after several months where retailers had reduced their imports from last year, so it’s a positive sign by comparison,” said NRF VP supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “Retailers are placing a cautious bet that consumer demand is increasing.”
The total for 2011 is forecast at 14.73 million TEU, down one-tenth of 1% from last year’s 14.75 million TEU.
Global Port Tracker counts only the number of cargo containers imported, not the value of their contents, so cargo volume does not directly correlate with retail sales.
Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Long Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.