A recent Law 360 story by John Kennedy, “The Firms that Earned the Most in the Chinese Drywall MDL,” reports that this week, a Louisiana federal judge distributed $111.4 million in fees and costs among 61 law firms that worked on multidistrict litigation over allegedly defective drywall imported from China. The amount covers work done for the common benefit of all the cases in the MDL through 2013 and relates only to matters involving Knauf Gips KG. Claims involving Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and Tai'an Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd. remain pending.
The drywall in question came into the U.S. as a result of a shortage of building materials in the early- and mid-2000s caused by a Florida housing boom and rebuilding efforts in the wake of hurricanes Rita and Katrina, according to the suits. Homeowners on the Gulf and East coasts, where the drywall was installed, began to complain about foul smells, corrosion of metal objects and the breakdown of appliances and electrical devices. Many also reported feeling ill and blamed it on the drywall.
The issues spawned a slew of state and federal lawsuits against homebuilders, developers, drywall installers, realtors, brokers, suppliers, importers, exporters, distributors, manufacturers and anyone else involved with the drywall. The federal cases were consolidated into an MDL in 2009. Some of the top law firm earners include:
Levin Sedran & Berman: $23.23M
Herman Herman & Katz: $22.34M
Seeger Weiss: $10.2M
Gainsburgh Benjamin: $9.4M
Colson Hicks: $5.3M
Richard J. Serpe PC: $4.4M
Whitfield Bryson & Mason: $3.9M