China’s Ministry of Justice has again rejected a lawsuit filed by thousands of U.S. homeowners who say the government’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission should pay for the damage to their homes caused by defective drywall that emits corrosive sulfuric fumes.
According to the Associated Press, the Ministry of Justice “says it won’t serve the legal papers because the agency is immune to such lawsuits and the legal service would infringe on China’s sovereignty.”
New Orleans Federal Judge Eldon Fallon has ruled that China’s state-owned Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. must pay damages to all the homes its toxic drywall ruined. Fumes released by the defective drywall corrode metal wiring, electronics, air conditioning, heating, and other fixtures and sicken occupants. Many homeowners have had to abandon their homes and some have been forced into bankruptcy because of the damage and the need to find alternate living arrangements.
The judgement covers about 4,000 homeowners in six states.
The Chinese government returned the lawsuit with a brief letter dated April 8, saying it is immune to U.S. consumer complaints. Beijing stamps its claim on the fact that Taishan and 116 other giant companies are owned and operated by the Chinese government, which, it claims, is not subject to U.S. laws.
The lawsuit names five other companies under the control of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, all of which say they are not bound to U.S. laws and should be dropped from the lawsuit.
Last year, an attempt to serve the lawsuit under the rules of the Hague Convention also was rejected by Chinese authorities, who returned it to the U.S. with a note from the Commission that said “the Chinese central government agency … shall enjoy sovereign immunity and not be subject to foreign jurisdiction.”
Source: Associated Press