LITIGATION

Miami couple wins $6 million in punitive damages against Chinese-drywall makers

 

A Miami-Dade jury recently awarded $6 million in punitive damages against makers of Chinese drywall found to cause health and structural problems in a Coconut Grove house.

Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Elisa Robin had already won $1.1 million in compensatory damages for the faulty building material, which was identified as a culprit in home contaminations throughout Florida and beyond during the housing boom. Jurors on Friday in the Miami-Dade Circuit Court case returned $6 million in additional punitive damages against China-based defendant Knauf Plasterboard and its German affiliate, Knauf GIPS KG.

Victor Diaz, the Miami Beach lawyer representing the Robins, called the verdict “the best accomplishment in my legal career.” He described the punitive-damage amount as particularly high for a case that only involved property damage. “But we’re more pleased that the jury recognized that what the public was, up until now, told about Chinese drywall has not been the full truth,’’ Diaz said.

Even with the verdicts in hand, the Robins and Diaz still face the challenge of collecting. The verdicts are subject to appeal and other legal wrangling.

Lawyers for Knauf were not immediately available for comment Monday evening.

DOUGLAS HANKS

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