German Company Tied to Bad Drywall?

A piece of Chinese drywall inscribed with "..ianjin China" leans against the wall of a home in Davie, Fla. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)
Knauf Gips, a German company, may be more closely tied to the Chinese defective drywall issue than it has previously claimed according to documents highlighted in a new ProPublica and Sarasota Herald Tribune report.

For the past two years, Knauf Gips has argued that it is not responsible for dealing with the millions of pounds of defective drywall that arrived to the United States between 2005 and 2007 from its Chinese subsidiary Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin.

But documents filed in Germany and in U.S. courts reveal that Knauf Gibs is "closely involved in the management of is subsidiaries, including overseeing quality control, finding raw materials and deal with rising concerns over the defective drywall", the ProPublica report asserts.

Knauf Gibs has long stated that only its subsidiary that produced the defective drywall---Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin---should be held financially responsible.

"Each corporation [Knauf Gips and Knauf Tianjin] is a separate legal entity, responsible only for its sales and its own profits," Steven Glickstien, one of Knauf Tianjin's American attorneys told ProPublica.

Knauf Gips is just one of dozens of companies that are being sued for manufacturing and selling defective drywall to American consumers.

As CBS News reported last year, thousands of Americans have been forced out of their homes due to defective drywall, which has been tied to both American and Chinese manufacturers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has said it has found what it calls a "strong association" between some Chinese-made drywall and the corrosion of pipes and wires in homes installed with the bad drywall, and recommends that homeowners living with defective drywall gut their homes and remove all wiring.

To date, the CPSC has received about 3,510 reports of defective drywall from residents in 37 states.

  • Emily Rand

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