NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The battle over Chinese drywall played out in a Norfolk court Thursday. Several lawsuits across the country allege the imported drywall puts out a sulfuric-type gas that corrodes copper wiring and can smell like rotten eggs.
The judge entered a default ruling against the Chinese company, which could make them financially responsible for damages. A similar judgment was made against the company on Wednesday.
"What level of responsibility does Taishan have to make everyone whole?," WAVY.com asked Attorney Jon Talotta, who represents Taishan Gypsum Company in China.
"We really don't have any comments on the case if you don't mind, " Talotta answered.
Taishan shipped more than one million sheets of drywall to America. Attorney Jack Drescher represents several homeowners in the lawsuit.
"They are completely out of luck at this stage. We are trying to recover damages, but to the extent you've said they've lost their homes," Drescher said.
Taishan shipped more than 100,000 sheets of drywall to Sam Porter. Porter says he had to buy the Chinese product because he couldn't get any American drywall during the housing boom. He added that he had no idea the drywall was tainted until he began receiving complaints.
Porter says he's a victim too and believes he lost the most.
"I've lost my job, my career, my money, my savings, my wife. Everything. I have nothing left," Porter said.
Home builder Atlantic Homes bought drywall from Porter. Brian Slaughter, who represents Atlantic Homes, said, "They are victims, like all the homeowners. This is a great home builder. He constructed good homes. They relied on the supplier to provide them with a quality product."
Homeowners who lost their homes are looking to get back what they lost, but that won't happen anytime soon, if ever.
Taishan is questioning whether U.S. Courts have jurisdiction in the lawsuits, saying China is where they should be filed.
"That is exactly the point. They manufactured it and knew was coming over here. They should be subjected to a court in the Untied States," Porter's attorney Ken Hardt said.
Attorneys in the case will go to China in January to try and get to the bottom of Chinese drywall in America.
Norfolk Police are investigating the cause of death for male found unconscious on the beach.
To ease holiday mailing, the Richmond District of the U.S. Postal Service is extending its Saturday window hours.
Free Christmas trees will be given to active-duty members of the military and their families Wednesday.