Yes, we have no drywall

drywallA dispute about the scope a “Chinese drywall” settlement illustrates the operation of complex class settlements.  Defendants settled with a broadly-defined group of claimants about defective drywall, but limited to claims involving “Affected Property.”  Defendants sought to enjoin a case by a class member who alleged that his condominium – which did not have Chinese drywall – had lost value because of its association with a neighboring property that did have defective Chinese drywall (also called or a “stigma” claim).  The district court denied the request and the Fifth Circuit affirmed.  Mangiarelli v. Sixty-Fifth and One, LLC, No. 14-31355 (Oct. 2, 2015, unpublished).  The Court distinguished between the situation when “individuals [are] ‘class members’ under a settlement agreement, yet [are] barred from recovery under the terms of that agreement” from this situation, where the plaintiff “was never entitled to a benefit under the . . . agreements in exchange for releasing his stigma claims.”

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