Happy Holidays – Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

The week between Christmas and New Years is typically a slow one for the legal and construction industries. Although, many projects rarely see breaks, this is a time when many companies take a look at the year that was, and reflect on all of the good, bad and ugly. Then look to the year that will be so that it can be made better than the last.

For most of us 2011 was a rebounding year or even a rebuilding year. The economy has leveled out (somewhat) and the public sector is pushing the construction industry forward. There is money starting to move in the private markets which will make way for projects into 2012.

I am optimistic for the year to come and feel like things are moving in the right direction for the construction industry. For those companies who have weathered the storm, hopefully good days lie ahead. For those who did not make it, there will be other opportunities where wise decisions will manifest from woeful past experience.

So from all of us here at the Wolfe Law Group we like to wish all of our clients, readers, followers, friends and family the happiest of holidays. Best of luck into the new year, may exciting times lie ahead.

Chinese Drywall (almost) Global Settlement

Today there was a big announcement, and very positive news from the front lines of the ever controversial Chinese Drywall Multi-District Litigation (MDL). A global settlement has been agreed to in terms and will be filed with the Federal Court on December 20, 2011. For those of us working every day with Chinese Drywall claimants, not all of the information is a complete surprise, but there are a few new wrinkles which make today’s announcement very appealing.

First and foremost, the reason why I put the almost in my title is due to the fact that this “global settlement” will not cover all homes containing Chinese Drywall. Rather it will cover all homes with KPT (Knauf Plasterboard Tanjin). Undoubtedly, this is a large majority of the claims here in South Louisiana and most of the deep south. Only 20% of my clients have board other than KPT in their home and are not eligible for the “global settlement.”

For those who do have KPT drywall, most have been notified that they are eligible for the current Pilot Program. The new announcement creates three options for persons with KPT in their home. First, to have your home remediated by the selected contractor, Moss Construction, of Fort Lauderdale, Fl (same as pilot program), Second, choose your own contractor and then get reimbursement along the way, or take a discounted all cash settlement buyout.  The fund created to pay for this will be an uncapped fund and will assure all homes with KPT board get fixed.

There are capped funds set up to cover all attorney fees and then a separate fund created for claimants who are seeking personal injury damages or other economic loss – ie homes lost to foreclosure or short sale.

The fact that this settlement has come in under three years from the major discovery of Chinese Drywall in homes is the most monumental achievement of them all. Unfortunately, homeowners with other brands of Chinese Drywall in their home will have to continue to wait until we can hail the Chinese company responsible into our American Courts.