Judge must reject drywall settlement agreement
To the editor:
Judge Fallon, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, is about to rule on a proposed pretrial Settlement Agreement for the decade-long toxic Chinese drywall litigation, a secretly-negotiated settlement that falls $1 billion short of compensating victims for their losses. To make matters even worse for many victims, the Court-appointed “Allocation Neutral” appears to have violated the Settlement Agreement in his decisions on how the settlement funds will be distributed.
The Allocation Neutral appears to have violated at least three provisions of the Settlement Agreement when he based his Product ID allocation on Taishan’s position on whether it manufactured, may have manufactured, or did not manufacture each of the covered drywall Buckets (types), distinguished by the drywall’s markings and/or labels.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys provided documents to the Allocation Neutral that, if considered by the Allocation Neutral, which they were, would violate at least three provisions of the Settlement Agreement.
It’s unreasonable to assume that neither the Allocation Neutral nor the plaintiffs’ attorneys knew that considering the above-referenced documents in the allocation of funds would be a violation of the Settlement Agreement. I believe that they had to have known. The plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote the Settlement Agreement and the Allocation Neutral would be derelict in his duties if he had not read it.
Judge Fallon has been made aware of these Settlement Agreement issues in Objections submitted to the Court and in testimony presented at the Fairness Hearing.
These Settlement Agreement violations, if allowed to stand by the Court, will deprive hundreds of plaintiffs, i.e. toxic Chinese drywall victims, of hundreds of thousands of dollars that they are rightfully entitled to under the terms of the Settlement Agreement.
Will Judge Fallon approve the Settlement Agreement knowing that the terms of the agreement have been violated and that, as a result, hundreds of toxic Chinese drywall victims will be deprived of settlement funds that they are legally entitled to? Many plaintiffs believe he will because ending this decade-long litigation is in the best interest of the Court, violation of the plaintiffs’ Constitutional rights be damned. I truly hope we’re wrong, and that Judge Fallon will do the right thing and disapprove this Settlement Agreement.