These questions and responses are provided for Class Members in the Chinese Drywall Taishan Settlement. If you are represented by counsel, you should consult with your attorney for advice about the Settlement. If you are unrepresented and need information about the Settlement, you may contact Settlement Class Counsel. Primary Counsel should refer to Frequently Asked Questions for Primary Counsel provided here.
These FAQs are for general guidance only, and do not change the terms or the meaning of the Settlement Agreement and related documents, which are all available on this website under the Documents and Links menu. If you perceive any inconsistency between these questions and the Settlement Agreement and court filings, the Settlement Agreement and court filings will control.
- How did the Settlement come about?
Earlier this year, after a decade of this Chinese Drywall litigation, attorneys for the property owners and defendants agreed to resolve the claims through a negotiated settlement rather than continue the litigation, which could have lasted several more years with uncertain outcomes for both sides and uncertain ability to collect on any judgment even if successful for Plaintiffs.
- How much is Taishan paying in this Settlement?
Taishan will pay $248 million into a fund to be used to pay all eligible class members, attorneys’ fees and costs, and administrative costs related to the Settlement.
- How do I know if I’m eligible to get money from the Settlement?
First, you should click the link to the Master Spreadsheet and see if your name and address are listed on the Master Spreadsheet. All names are listed in alphabetical order. If your name and property are on the Master Spreadsheet, you do not need to do anything unless your name is highlighted in gray with a red notice. If your name is highlighted in gray with a red notice, that means there is a competing claim for your property, in which case you must take additional action.
- If your name is not highlighted in gray with a red notice, and if the information about you is accurate you do not have to do anything.
- If your name is highlighted for a competing claim, please see Question 4 below.
- If your name is not on the Master Spreadsheet, please see Question 5 below.
- What do I do if my name is highlighted in gray with a red notice on the Master Spreadsheet?
The names highlighted in gray with a red notice on the Master Spreadsheet have more than one person or party seeking to recover a settlement award for the same property. These instances are referred to as “competing claims.” If you have a competing claim, you should provide the Claims Administrator, BrownGreer, with all documentation you have to support your position that you are entitled to recover the award for the property. You must make that submission by October 3, 2019. If you do not submit anything by that date, the Claims Administrator will make its decision as to how much money to give you and the competing property owner on the basis of any prior documents received from you and/or the competing property owner, and will follow the rules for resolving competing claims provided in the “Allocation Model” which can be found here.
- What do I do if I’m not on the Master Spreadsheet at all?
If you do not see your name on the Master Spreadsheet, you may still be eligible for an award. If you believe that you are, or were, an owner of a property with Chinese drywall attributable to Taishan (or otherwise covered by this litigation) and you wish to participate in the Settlement, you must submit a Claim Form, which is available [here], and follow instructions on the Claim Form for submitting supporting documentation. Claim Forms must be submitted by Wednesday, February 12, 2020. The Claim Form identifies the type of drywall covered by this litigation. The Claims Administrator will determine if you are eligible for an award under the Settlement and will provide you with an explanation of its decision.
- What do I do if my name is listed on the Master Spreadsheet but I disagree with the information about me on the Master Spreadsheet?
If you are listed on the Master Spreadsheet but believe the information about you on the Master Spreadsheet is incorrect, you can notify the Claims Administrator of the inaccurate information and provide supporting documentation for any corrections before October 3, 2019. Your attorney can assist you with that process, or you can contact the Claims Administrator directly at CDWQuestions@browngreer.com.
- How much money am I going to get?
Until all claims have been submitted and assessed by the Claims Administrator, it is not possible to know exactly how much you will actually get. However, if you are on the Master Spreadsheet, you were provided with the Claims Administrator’s estimate of what your gross award may be. Your exact gross amount may be more or less than what you actually will get at the end of the process for dividing up the total settlement amount, but it is the best estimate of what you will receive based on currently known information.
The current estimate is a gross estimate because attorneys’ fees and costs will ultimately be deducted from your gross award, and you will receive the remainder (the “net” award). Attorneys’ fees and costs will need to be approved by the Court, and they will not exceed 33% of your gross award.
- When will I know how much money I’m going to get?
The Claims Administrator will notify eligible class members of their awards after the Settlement has been finally approved by the Court, and any appeals are finished. That will not be before December 11, 2019.
- When will I get a payment if I’m eligible?
No payments can be made until after the Settlement has been finally approved by the Court, and any appeals are finished. That will not be before December 11, 2019.
- What will happen to my lawsuit because of this Settlement?
If you participate in the Settlement, your claims will be dismissed, and all claims that you brought or could have brought against Taishan and other defendants in this litigation will be waived forever. The Settlement will fully resolve your claims. Your case will be over, and you cannot sue any of the defendants again about Chinese drywall.
- What if I don’t like the Settlement?
If you do not like the Settlement, you have two options: you can choose to “opt out,” or you can “object.” If you “opt out” (which means exclude yourself from the Class), you are telling the Court that you don’t want to participate in the Settlement but want to pursue your lawsuit against Taishan. You will not be eligible to receive any benefits from the Settlement, and you will not be able to object to the Settlement. If you “object” to the Settlement, you are asking the Court to invalidate the Settlement because you think is unfair to you and/or others. Objecting does not disqualify you from making a claim nor does it make you ineligible to receive a payment.
- Opt Out: If you do not want to participate in the Settlement, and want your lawsuit against Taishan to continue, you may opt out of it by excluding yourself from it. To opt out, you must send a written notice that you want to opt out of the Settlement by first-class mail to the addresses below. The opt-out notice must be post-marked after September 19, 2019 but before November 27, 2019 (the last day of the Opt-Out/Objection Period). You must personally sign the opt-out notice. Your attorney cannot sign it for you. If you opt out, you cannot participate in or receive any Settlement benefits.
- Object: If you think the Settlement is unfair, you may object to the Settlement. To object in whole or in part, you must send an objection to the addresses below. The objection must be post-marked before November 27, 2019 (the last day of the Opt-Out/Objection Period). The steps for making an objection must be followed carefully. The objection must be in writing and include all of the following:
a. explain whether it applies only to you, or to a specific subset of the Class, or to the entire Class;
b. state with specificity the grounds for your objection;
c. state whether you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing either with or without your counsel (who needs to be identified);
d. identify any witnesses you plan to call, the subject area of the witnesses’ testimony, and all documents you plan to use or offer into evidence at the Fairness Hearing;
e. be signed by you and your counsel (NOTE: an objection signed by counsel alone will not be sufficient);
f. contain the caption of MDL No. 2047 and any Litigation in which you are a named party;
g. include your name, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if you have an e-mail address); and
h. provide the address of the Affected Property at issue in this Chinese Drywall litigation.
- Send the original Opt-Out notice or Objection to:
Arnold Levin and Sandra L. Duggan
Levin Sedran & Berman LLP
510 Walnut Street, Suite 500
Philadelphia, PA 19106
with copies to:
Richard J. Serpe
Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC
580 East Main St., Suite 310
Norfolk, VA 23510
Stephen J. Herman
Herman, Herman & Katz, LLC
820 O’Keefe Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70113
Patrick S. Montoya
Colson Hicks Eidson
255 Alhambra Circle
Penthouse, Coral Gables, FL 33134
- How will the attorneys get paid?
Attorneys’ fees and costs will be paid from the Settlement Funds, which means that your gross award could be reduced by up to 33%. The attorneys who worked on the case will apply to the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and reasonable litigation expenses. But the attorneys have agreed to limit their application to a total of no more than 33% of the Settlement Funds. The Court may award less than what the attorneys ask for.
- What happens if I don’t do anything?
If you don’t do anything, you will be considered to be a participant in the Settlement.
If you are on the Master Spreadsheet (and if your claim is not flagged as a competing claim per Question 2), you do not need to do anything.
If you are on the Master Spreadsheet and your claim is flagged as a competing claim, and you do not send in documentation according to Question 4, the Claims Administrator will make its decision as to how much money to give you and the competing property owner on the basis of any prior documents received, and will follow the rules for resolving competing claims provided in the “Allocation Model,” which can be found here.
If you are not on the Master Spreadsheet, and you do nothing, you will not receive a payment from the Claims Administrator, but you will still be considered to be a participant, and any claim you may have will be dismissed when the Settlement is final. If you think you may be eligible for an award under the Settlement, you should submit a Claim Form (see Question 3).