chinese drywall

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A federal judge has ruled that nearly 4,000 homeowners who say Chinese drywall ruined their homes are eligible to share any further damages he may award in lawsuits against a government-owned manufacturer that failed to show up in court.

Attorney Leonard Davis of New Orleans said Monday that notices were sent Friday to the homeowners in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Virginia, Texas and Alabama.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon certified all plaintiffs in nine lawsuits last week as members of a class-action suit against Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd.

Thousands of homeowners in southern states will be reviewing a proposed settlement with the major manufacturer involved in defective Chinese drywall litigation. The deal would pay for repairs and possibly medical expenses if the product made people sick.

The deal involves 4,500 property owners and Knauf Plasterboard. The company will pay for repairs and medical losses. Drywall imported from China from 2004 to 2007 eased demand from the housing boom and hurricane repairs.