Tainted Chinese drywall settlement challenge

Tainted Chinese drywall settlement challenge
Published: Aug. 14, 2018 at 10:26 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2018 at 5:37 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Almost a decade after families discovered the extent of tainted drywall damage, one former Louisiana couple fights to get help with recovery. Fox 8 spoke with the Waynes, who are taking their case to court.

Corroded wiring and broken electronics cropped up in homes throughout the coast as some of the first signs of what would become one of the biggest home contamination scandals in the country's history. William Wayne said, "To say that my mirrors are turning black; my son's getting bloody noses; my air condition compressor went out it must be the drywall. It would be crazy until you actually know that sort of thing."

Kelly Wayne said, "We lost our entire house. All of our belongings; all of my kid's belongings that were inside that home not to mention the repercussions of filing bankruptcy."

Tainted drywall from china devastated people in the post-Katrina building boom. Although there was a swift settlement from Knauf Drywall, the German company that imported the toxic material, some families still weren't made whole.

William Wayne said, "For all that pain and suffering four grand. That's nothing in this kind of thing."

In 2006 William and Kelly Wayne lived the dream. Moving into a brand new house with a brand new baby, but a few years later their dream became a nightmare.

Kelly Wayne said, "I was very sick. I lost over 15 pounds when I was pregnant with my second child Connor. They said if I didn't gain the weight back I was at a high risk of miscarrying."

During that same time the news broke on Chinese drywall, and on doctor's orders, they left. Kelly Wayne recalls, "I left the house with just the clothes on my back."

They were told not to take anything that it was all contaminated. A week later her pregnancy returned to normal, but for months she lived in her parents garage while her husband commuted to Baton Rouge. They filed bankruptcy and the house went into foreclosure.

Already deep into the procedure a judge forced their claim into existing class action. Wayne Williams said, "The thing was that Knauf, the defendant, was given the ability to deny claims in the settlement agreement sort of a fox in charge of the hen house."

The language of the settlement states homeowners under foreclosure are entitled to compensation, but the Waynes received less than 60% of what was awarded and half of that went to lawyers.

Kelly Wayne said, "I constantly feel like somehow I was punished for having the audacity to build my own home."

They continue to push in the court system not just for themselves, but the many foreclosures denied payment.

We left messages with Knauf and the law firm administering the settlement Wednesday August 14, 2018, but did not get a reply before this publication.

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