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A Broward County Circuit Court's recent ruling may mean that Banner Supply Co., a supplier of Chinese drywall, will soon face more lawsuits from Florida homeowners.
Banner originally settled its original drywall class action suit in June for $54 million. This settlement only covers 2,000 homeowners in Florida.
Now, the Circuit Court judge has ruled that homeowners can choose to "opt out" of the settlement and file their own separate lawsuits against the company, according to Reuters.
In many class action lawsuits, potential class members have the option to either "opt in" or "opt out" of the litigation. Those that choose to "opt in" will be bound by whatever is decided in court. Those who decide to "opt out" of the litigation generally won't be bound by whatever is decided in court and may pursue their own case.
Prior to this ruling, Florida homeowners affected by the defective drywall panels were bound by the settlement, Reuters reports.
What kind of harm does defective drywall cause? The defective Chinese drywall emits sulfur gas that can harm a home's wiring system. Defective drywall can also ruin air conditioners and other household appliances, Reuters reports.
The drywall was distributed by Banner Co., but was manufactured in China by a subsidiary of Knauf Group, a German company. Banner has filed a separate lawsuit for $100 million against Knauf for damages to its reputation and its business, according to Reuters.
Currently, there are about 1,500 lawsuits previously filed against Banner in Florida that could proceed as a result of this ruling, Reuters reports.
So far, it's unclear if this ruling will spread to other states where Banner Supply Co. sold Chinese drywall. But, it does mean that some Florida homeowners will now have the opportunity to file their own case against the company.