Industry Briefs   August 2009
Federal Court Consolidates Chinese Drywall Cases

A Multi-District Litigation Panel is moving forward on plans for consolidating thousands of Chinese drywall lawsuits throughout the United States. On June 15, the MDL selected the Eastern District of Louisiana Federal United States District Court in New Orleans to oversee the cases. An estimated 100,000 cases from across the nation are expected to be consolidated for pretrial matters and discovery in the drywall litigation that has impacted homeowners throughout the country. Florida is expected to have 35,000 cases filed within the next year regarding this problem.

“This is the largest construction defect case in the history of the United States and consumers need help now,” said Ervin A. Gonzalez in a press statement. Gonzalez is a partner at the law firm of Colson Hicks Eidson in Miami-Dade Co., Fla.

The court will likely select an executive committee for the plaintiffs and defendants to run the litigation on behalf of all interested parties and soon after require a joint case management plan to be submitted that outlines the parties’ pleading and practice schedule as well as the proposed discovery schedule.

As early as 2007, many homeowners who moved into their newly constructed homes began to notice strong “rotten egg” odors. They also noticed that many of their new appliances were failing, wiring was corroding, air-conditioning coils needed replacing and they began to experience headaches, sore throats, nose bleeds and upper respiratory problems.

According to the lawsuit, the culprit is alleged to be defective drywall that emits various sulfide gases and/or other chemicals through “off-gassing” that creates noxious, “rotten egg-like” odors, and causes corrosion of metals including those in air-conditioners, refrigerator coils, microwaves, faucets, utensils, copper tubing, electrical wiring, computer wiring, personal property, electronic appliances, and other metal surfaces and household items.

Suffolk, Marcobay Form Partnership, Land First Project

General contractors Suffolk Construction of West Palm Beach, Fla., and Marcobay Construction, Lakeland, Fla., have joined forces and won a military project in the Southeast.

The alliance resulted in the recent award of a $13-million contract by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command for a 200-bed Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at the Marine Corp Logistics Base in Albany, Ga. The 63,000-sq-ft structure, consisting of storage, utilities, parking and anti-terrorism force protection, will be built to become LEED certified.

Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in September and will be completed in 2011.

McKim & Creed Acquires 3-D Laser Scanning Firm in Florida McKim & Creed, a Raleigh, N.C.-based engineering and surveying consultancy, has acquired JMR Surveying Group, a 3-D laser scanning and surveying company located near Orlando. The acquisition was finalized in June. McKim & Creed provides engineering, surveying and planning services to public- and private-sector clients throughout the Southeast. JMR Surveying Group was established in Davenport, Fla., in 1999, and provides surveying services throughout central and southern Florida. The company specializes in 3-D laser scanning, structural and heavy construction layout, site development, topographic and as-built surveys, and boundary surveys.
Wayne Brothers Recognized by N.C. Dept. of Labor for Safety Wayne Brothers, a concrete and site-development contractor based in Kannapolis, N.C., received the Silver Safety Award at the annual North Carolina Dept. of Labor Safety Achievement Award ceremony. The criteria for the award is a zero fatality rate and maintenance of an incident rate of at least 50% below the average for the applicable industry group, based on the number of lost work days incurred.
CES Forms Engineered Systems Business Group Longwood, Fla.-based Comprehensive Energy Services has formed an Engineered Systems Business Group, dedicated to installing, integrating and servicing fire alarm, mass notification, video surveillance, intrusion detection, emergency communications and access control.