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Gilman & Pastor File Class Action vs. "Chinese Drywall"
Court Watch | 2009/03/19 18:12
Notice is hereby given that Gilman and Pastor has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida asserting class action claims on behalf of homeowners, building owners, community developments and owner associations across the United States to recover losses associated with the removal, replacement and remediation of defective "Chinese Drywall," as well as damages for personal injury.

Residents who may be affected include those living in homes that were built between 2002 and 2007, when imported Chinese Drywall was used by several of the major building companies. The defendants named in this lawsuit include Knauf Gips KG, the leading manufacturer in drywall located in Germany, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT), a Chinese drywall manufacturer; Knauf Group, the German parent company of KPT; Banner Supply, a Miami building supply company; and Rothchilt International Ltd., a China-based exporter. Developers that have been identified as possible users of this drywall include Lennar Homes, W.C.I., Tousa, Engel Homes and other national home builders.

The lawsuit alleges that "fly ash" waste material from Chinese power plants was used in the manufacture of this Chinese Drywall. These waste materials can leak into the air and emit harmful sulfur compounds, including sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide.

Our investigation has concluded that this is far more serious and vastly more extensive than previously determined. More than 550 million pounds of Chinese drywall was imported to the U.S. during the housing boom from 2004 to 2006. There are approximately 60,000 homes affected by these defective building materials in multiple states across the USA, with defective Chinese drywall gaining entry through ports in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington, among others.

There is no easy way to fix the damage caused by the defective drywall. In most cases, owners of homes where the toxic drywall was installed are forced to move out, gut their homes to remove the toxic materials, and rebuild the interiors of the homes with new drywall before moving back in. All personal property inside the home that may have been contaminated by the sulfur gases must also be replaced. The Sulfur emissions may also cause extensive electrical damage. Corrosion of air-conditioning units and wiring has been linked to Chinese drywall. Residents in homes built with the defective drywall have also reported suffering from respiratory problems, nose bleeds, coughing, and irritation of sinuses, eyes and throats.

Prompt action is important. With many builders and developers filing for bankruptcy protection or closing their doors, a delay in asserting your claim may limit your recourse against the builders that installed the defective materials or their suppliers.

News agencies and informational web sites could be especially helpful to consumers by alerting them to this serious problem.

Gilman and Pastor is a national litigation firm with offices in Boston, Massachusetts, and Naples, Florida, specializing in product liability litigation, consumer class actions and complex business litigation. For 30 years our attorneys have recovered more than a billion dollars on behalf of our clients.

Gilman and Pastor's managing partner, Kenneth G. Gilman, has worked extensively to assist building owners recover losses from defective building materials. Gilman and Pastor was appointed by the United States District Court as lead class counsel in Sebago Inc et al. v. Beazer East, Inc. and Johns Manville against the two manufacturers of phenolic foam roof insulation. PFRI, when exposed to even small amounts of moisture, releases an acidic leachate that corrodes metal roof decks. In 2000, the United States District Court in Massachusetts approved a nationwide class settlement which involved remediation of class members' buildings with payments of a combined estimated value of more than $350 million.

You may learn more about our lawsuit and our investigation into Chinese Drywall by contacting Kenneth G. Gilman toll-free at (888) 280-1236. Additional information is available online at www.defective-drywall.com. We can assist you in all phases of this matter, including properly scheduled inspections.


Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Peanut Corp.
Court Watch | 2009/02/02 17:32
The sudden and unexpected death of a Minnesota woman who fell victim to a nationwide Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak has prompted a wrongful death lawsuit against Virginia-based Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) -- a maker of bulk peanut butter and peanut paste.
Fred Pritzker, founder and president of national food safety law firm Pritzker | Olsen, P.A., filed the complaint Monday in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis for the heirs and of Shirley Mae Almer, 72, of Perham, Minnesota: Jeffrey Almer as trustee of the heirs of Shirley Mae Almer v. Peanut Corporation of America, a Virginia business entity and King Nut Companies, an Ohio business entity.
King Nut Companies is an Ohio-based firm that allegedly distributed the contaminated peanut butter that came out of PCA's plant in Blakely, Georgia, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, the product was delivered to a nursing home in Brainerd, Minnesota, where Mrs. Almer was temporarily residing.
The complaint alleges that her death on December 21 was a direct result of consuming peanut butter that contained the same genetic strain of Salmonella that has sickened more than 500 other people in 43 states. On January 13, the FDA announced that PCA initiated a recall that included the product that had been served to Mrs. Almer.
"This is a very large and significant recall," Pritzker said. "It points to a number of vulnerabilities in our food safety system that require legislation and funding to correct. Consumers should feel concerned and demand a significant overhaul."
The complaint alleges negligence on behalf of PCA and King Nut for failure to train and properly supervise peanut butter production workers and other employees; failure to safely produce, store and transport its products; failure to maintain sanitary conditions during and after production; failure to prevent cross-contamination and failure to properly test its products, as well as other acts of negligence.
The complaint also alleges that PCA and King Nut are negligent per se for failing to comply with Minn. Stat. Chapter 31 and 21 USC Sec. 331.
The complaint also makes a claim for damages under the doctrine of strict liability.
Pritzker said Mrs. Almer was the "canary in a coal mine" whose death helped lead health investigators to the plant in South Georgia. Now federal officials view the PCA plant as the outbreak's lone, known source.
According to the complaint, Mrs. Almer's children were notified January 6 that she died with a Salmonella infection. Days later, the Minnesota departments of health and agriculture traced the problem to a five-pound pail of King Nut creamy peanut butter that had been in use at the nursing home.
Pritzker said grieving family members were angered to learn that the peanut butter served to Mrs. Almer contained the same deadly pathogen associated with hundreds of Salmonella infections since mid-September.
Mrs. Almer, who grew up in New York Mills, Minnesota, still owned a bowling alley in Wadena. She had survived two bouts with cancer in recent years and was cancer free when she was sickened with Salmonella. Just before she became ill, family members were planning to take her out of the nursing home. Instead, she became so sick from the bacteria that she was taken to a hospital, where she died.
Pritzker | Olsen has considerable experience and a reputation for success in representing survivors of foodborne illnesses (including E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and Shigella). The firm is involved in virtually every national outbreak and has collected large sums on behalf of people injured or killed by adulterated food. In addition, the firm is devoted to educating the public about food safety issues and advocating for badly needed food safety legislation and increased funding for the federal, state and local agencies charged with protecting our food and enforcing food safety laws.
Pritzker and members of his firm are frequent guests and commentators about food safety issues and have been interviewed by and profiled in a number of media sources including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and CNN.


Judge Upholds Detention of Two Gitmo Detainees
Court Watch | 2009/01/02 17:27
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the U.S. government is properly imprisoning two people as enemy combatants in Guantanamo - the first legal victory for the Bush administration in the issue for a long time, and the first of an expected 200 or more similar cases.
    U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C., was the jurist who ruled about a month ago that the Bush administration had illegally imprisoned five Algerians at Guantanamo for nearly 7 years. He ordered the administration to release them.
    The recent case involved a Yemeni, Moath Hamza Ahmed al Alwi, and a Tunisian, Hisham Sliti.
    Judge Leon found that Sliti was an al Qaeda recruit who attended a military training camp in Afghanistan.
    Judge Leon ruled that though there was no proof that al Alwi had made war upon U.S. forces, his ties to the Taliban were sufficient to justify his imprisonment as an enemy combatant.


Alamo seeks removal of religious language in suit
Court Watch | 2008/12/23 17:16
A lawyer for jailed evangelist Tony Alamo asked a federal court Tuesday to remove religious references from a lawsuit against his client, saying they have the potential to draw the court into theological debate to decide the case.

John Hall of Little Rock said in a court filing that claims made by two former members of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries were based on religious beliefs and not matters for argument in a court of law.

Hall gave as examples claims that Alamo engaged in practices to intimidate church members by withholding food, marrying young girls and performing severe beatings. Hall said Alamo's defense to each of these allegations was based largely on the Bible, and the filing cites numerous biblical passages.

"All of these fall within the ambit of defendant's religious beliefs," the filing says.

The suit, filed Nov. 25 in federal district court at Texarkana, claims that Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek were beaten and subjected to abuse as teenagers in the church. The suit says the former church members, now adults, suffered physical pain, emotional distress, scarring and disfigurement. It seeks more than $75,000 in damages.



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