Jury Awards $2.5 Million Chinese Drywall Verdict

Jury awards big amount in benchmark case

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    WASHINGTON - JUNE 10: Worker Ramiro Lizarazu installs drywall June 10, 2002 at the Pentagon in Washington, DC . The Pentagon reconstruction effort, dubbed Phoenix Project, aims to rebuild the 400,000 square feet of space that was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It is scheduled to reopen on the first anniversary of the attacks. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    A jury has awarded a South Florida family $2.5 million in a benchmark defective Chinese drywall case.

    Armin and Lisa Seifart won the judgment in a Miami-Dade civil court Friday against drywall distributor Banner Supply Company.

    The jury, which had been deliberating since Thursday afternoon, returned the verdict around 5:15 p.m.

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    The Seifarts had been seeking at least $4.3 million in damages after they had to completely renovate their Coconut Grove home due to the noxious drywall.

    "It was important to send a message to companies that they should do the right thing when the health of the public is at stake," said Armin Seifart after the verdict.

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    "I feel that justice was done," added Lisa Seifart.

    The Seifarts and their two children moved out of the $1.6 million home, which the family purchased in 2008, after they learned it had been built with the defective drywall.

    They said they've spent over $700,000 renovating the home and have have to rent a second residence while the renovations take place.

    The Chinese drywall has been linked to possible health problems as well as ruining pipes, wiring and electronics and appliances like computers. Not to mention the bad smells.

    During the two week trial, the Seifarts detailed the odd smell they noticed when they moved into the house, and claimed they weren't told about the bad drywall.

    They claimed Banner Supply knew about the problem and had even made an agreement to send a shipment of 100,000 pounds of the drywall back to the Chinese manufacturer a year before they bought their home.

    Banner Supply admitted the drywall was bad but said the money the Seifarts were seeking was unreasonable.

    Banner attorney Todd Ehrenreich said an appeal would be considered.

    "We're very disappointed in the verdict," he said.

    The lawsuit is the first jury trial to decide the drywall issue and could open the doors for hundreds of other homeowners who have filed similar lawsuits throughout the country.