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Newport News (VA) families to be public face of federal toxic drywall trial

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A high-profile toxic Chinese drywall federal lawsuit will include testimony from homeowners in the Hollymeade neighborhood in Newport News, according to WAVY-TV.

A number of local residents are part of a class-action lawsuit against the manufacturer of the drywall, a lawsuit that is being tried in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans.

My colleagues and I have written at length about toxic Chinese drywall and the problems it has caused innocent homeowners in Hampton Roads and elsewhere. Earlier this month, fellow attorney Emily Mapp Brannon wrote about the plight of condo owners at Norfolk’s Harbor Walk development, where units have been abandoned because of the toxic drywall.

The federal trial, less than two months away, will put Hampton Roads in the national spotlight. Preston McKeller will be one of the area homeowners testifying.

"I would like to see all of the houses in the neighborhood be given a remediating. It's the process to remove the problem, along with fix the electrical. It's a very extensive process,” McKeller told WAVY.

The McKellers and other local families will serve as the “public faces” of the case, according WAVY. The trial is supposed to start on Jan. 10.

An important question in the ongoing federal litigation in New Orleans is whether plaintiffs will be able to recover anything from the Chinese manufacturers of the toxic drywall.

The judge overseeing the case entered a judgment Friday against one of the manufacturers that has essentially ignored the litigation. But it’s not clear how – or if – the victims can recover anything from the manufacturer.

(MM)

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