South Florida

Woman Claims Defective Chinese Dry Wall Killed Husband

A South Florida woman says her husband paid the ultimate price for having defective Chinese dry wall in their home.

"He was perfect, lungs, everything. No illness at all and in October of that year he was diagnosed with stage four cancer," Adriana Grillet said of her husband, Juan Merino.

The family lived in a high rise building off Biscayne Boulevard in Aventura for about a year. Just nine months after he was diagnosed, Merino was dead.

On Wednesday, Grillet was in court forging ahead with her claim that even though her husband asked, they were told there wasn't Chinese dry wall in the unit they were going to rent. She says that turned out to be untrue and it cost him his life.

"He was my best friend. He was my love," Grillet said.

She's now suing those operating the building and a company that did testing for Chinese dry wall. All of them deny her allegations that they had anything to do with Merino's death.

The attorney for the property management group, Esq. Momentis Property Group, indicated there's no evidence to show any toxins were in the unit when the couple was there that could have caused Merino's fatal lung cancer.

"We sympathize that Mr. Merino passed away from cancer. But the point is what was the cause of it and we have to look at that from a scientific standpoint," attorney Jeff Paskert said in court. "What they are not going to be able to show you is that a carcinogen, sulfuric acid mist, was present in any dose that exposed anybody in that condominium unit."

But Grillet says her husband, who had asthma, specifically asked before moving in if Chinese dry wall was present.

"He wouldn't sign any paper, any lease, if he doesn't have a serious study that was no Chinese dry wall," Grillet said.

Her attorney produced a lease which reads, in part: "the landlord had an inspection done...conditions in the unit from the wall board do not appear to present a health risk."

"He was given a report that says 'we can't detect any of these gases in your apartment and we believe living in the apartment poses no health risks' when in fact the first draft of the thing said we should warn people that they could get sick," attorney Richard Burton said.

After moving, she says other experts tested again.

"The study says that the apartment had 99 percent Chinese dry wall," Grillet said.

That's why the woman is claiming the building and the testing company are responsible for what happened. The attorney for the property group also said that this all happened in such a short time window that Merino could have had the lung cancer before ever moving in.

The case still has a way to go in court but its the first case with Chinese Dry wall that doesn't address fixing up a property but someone dying over what happening with the defective dry wall.

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