The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a typical homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t have to cover damage caused by Chinese drywall.
Fumes from the defective drywall — which was installed in several hundred homes in Virginia in 2007 — damaged piping, caused a noxious odor, and posed various health risks. Often homes had to be gutted to repair the problem.
In the case heard by the court, Larry Ward of Virginia Beach’s homeowner’s insurance policy had exclusions for damage caused by “latent defects, defective materials, rust or other corrosion, or pollutants.” His 2007 home had the Chinese drywall installed,
But Ward and his attorney argued that the drywall issue was unusual, and that the exclusions weren’t meant to apply. The court ruled otherwise.
That’s typical language for a policy, so the ruling will affect most homeowners in the state.
Ward’s attorney represents about 200 other clients in similar cases. They have lawsuits pending against builders and drywall installers, as well as the Chinese companies that manufactured the product. (In case you think that last part is futile, one company, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co., has already agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars.)