Attorneys for a number of major LBM dealers no doubt are paying close attention to a settlement reached last month between Banner Supply Co. of Miami and owners of homes with tainted drywall that came from Banner. The settlement calls for Banner to pay $54.5 million–basically, all the insurance money it had available–to owners of roughly 2,000 to 3,000 South Florida homes.
The agreement represents one of the most significant commitments that a supplier has made as a result of supplying drywall from China that contained unusually large amounts of sulfur. Those tainted sheets–most of which were rushed to the United States to help repair and replace homes ravaged by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina–damaged new homes' electrical equipment, corroded pipes, created foul smells, and led to residents' health problems.
According to a list compiled by ProPublica and the Sarasota Herald Tribune and published Dec. 15, at least 95 companies have been implicated as distributors in lawsuits filed against Chinese manufacturers accused of being the source of tainted drywall. Banner Supply topped the list, but others on it included such ProSales 100 companies as L&W Supply, ProBuild, Stock Building Supply, and 84 Lumber.