A list compiled by ProPublica and the Sarasota Herald Tribune and published Dec. 15 names 95 companies that were implicated as distributors in lawsuits filed against Chinese manufacturers accused of being the source of tainted drywall. Banner Supply tops the list, while others on it include such ProSales 100 companies as L&W Supply, ProBuild, Stock Building Supply, and 84 Lumber.
Most of the homes cited in the lawsuits were constructed in the South, particularly Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Virginia.
Of the companies listed, Miami-based Banner and its subsidiaries was named as the drywall distributor in 1,553 of the homes alleged to have the tainted drywall, the most of any company. New Orleans-based Interior/Exterior Building Supply, along with its subsidiaries, was listed as the dealer and distributor for 848 houses that also contained the suspected product.
According to an article in the South Florida Business Journal, Banner agreed to settle with 74 homeowners who had contaminated drywall distributed by Banner Supply in the homes in a Homestead, Fla., subdivision. Lawyers for Banner Supply said the company is working to verify and resolve the claims it has received so far.
L&W Supply, the logistical arm of drywall maker USG, was identified as the distributor for 245 houses containing the allegedly tainted drywall. Norfolk, Va.-based Venture Supply was named as the distributor for 190 homes, while Virginia Beach, Va.-based Tobin Trading was named as the distributor in 188 homes.
ProBuild East, a division of ProBuild, was listed as the distributor of 14 homes containing the tainted drywall, Stock Building Supply was named as the distributor in seven of the homes and 84 was named as the distributor in four.
Home improvements giants Lowe's and Home Depot also were named, with Lowe's serving as the distributor for 44 of the homes and Home Depot named as the distributor in 26 of the homes. Lowe's also is reported to have settled allegations. It originally planned to pay each homeowner a maximum of $4,500 in cash and gift cards, but has since renegotiated and will pay each customer a maximum of $100,000, according to the reports.
The tainted drywall, which is believed to have been imported over the last decade, causes noxious fumes which lead to corrosion of electrical wires and ventilation ducts and may pose health risks to homeowners. All the lawsuits have been transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Many homeowners feel the government is not doing enough to help them with the lawsuits.
The average cost of remediation from the tainted drywall is reportedly about $100,000 as homeowners will need to replace electrical wires and air ventilation ducts along with the drywall.