The first trial in the infamous Chinese drywall litigation will apparently involve seven Virginia homeowners. The first case is currently set for a bench trial on January 25, 2010.
We have written several times regarding the Chinese drywall litigation, including several months ago in Mid Atlantic Construction. While Virginia plaintiffs will apparently occupy the first position on the trial docket, our area in Northern Virginia has thus far been very quiet to silent on this front. The Tidewater area has been a little different as a supplier there sold a fairly significant quantity of the drywall that was used locally.
The Chinese drywall is just the most recent wave of products liability litigation to erupt across the construction industry. The past several waves, such as the fire retardant plywood, plumbing material, and EIFS systems litigation, each pointed out that getting around the economic loss rule in Virginia is extremely difficult. The economic loss rule in Virginia provides that a party suing for “economic losses” is seeking a contractual remedy and must demonstrate privity of contract to recover.
The economic loss rule and its various permutations is one of the most important legal issues in construction litigation in Virginia. As such, we are going to take the change to explore the economic loss rule and discuss it over several posts moving forward.