Once again, GBA reports on the many complaints and lawsuits against the spray foam industry.
Lawsuits Name Makers of Spray Foam Insulation
Federal court filings in a half dozen states allege that spray polyurethane foam is defective and dangerous to homeowners
Spray foam insulation is the target of civil complaints filed in federal district courts. A lawyer in the case describes the number of complaints from homeowners as an “avalanche.”
Federal lawsuits claiming that spray-polyurethane foam insulation is toxic and can sicken those who live in houses where it has been installed are pending in more than a half-dozen states as lawyers deal with an “avalanche” of complaints, a Florida attorney says.
To date, complaints have been filed in federal district courts in Florida, New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, says Vince Pravato, an attorney at Wolf & Pravato in Fort Lauderdale. According to Pravato, litigation filings are also expected in North Carolina and Arkansas.
Pravato says he has been retained by clients to pursue claims against a number of different manufacturers and installers, including Demilec, Lapolla, Masco, and NCFI Polyurethanes.
The filings mark the start of what is likely to be a protracted legal effort on the part of a number of attorneys representing many homeowners. Attorneys for the homeowners are hoping the cases will be bundled into something called “multidistrict litigation” that would speed pretrial proceedings. A hearing on that request is scheduled for the end of May in Kentucky.
Verdicts in any of the requested jury trials could be a year or more away.
Some clients suffer ‘severe health issues’
Pravato was one of the attorneys working on litigation that targeted defective drywall manufactured in China and installed in thousands of homes in the U.S.
Class action settlements approved in that case could cost the manufacturer more than $1 billion. “I was not eager to jump into another situation like the Chinese drywall case,” Pravato says, “but more and more people began contacting me and I said I would look into it, and it became an avalanche.”
The chief complaints are health problems suffered by occupants of homes that have been insulated with spray foam. Apparently, some homeowners develop chemical sensitivity to foam ingredients.
While a number of manufacturers have been cited, Demilec comes up most frequently, Pravato says. Most often, the affected homeowners were in their homes at the time the foam was sprayed, or returned home immediately afterward. Clients who developed health problems typically didn’t know what was causing them. Plaintiffs include a family doctor from Virginia, Pravato says, who was forced out of his home.
“He had significant neurological problems,” the attorney says. “He had MRI testing because he was losing sensation in his legs. He had breathing problems. He was seeing an allergist. He couldn’t figure out what the problem was, and he was a medical doctor. He said, ‘Vince, if somebody came to me with these problems and said it was spray foam I wouldn’t believe him.’ And he finally figured out what it was. They moved out and he’s doing much better. But his house sits empty.
“When you hear these stories it’s just a tragedy after a tragedy. These people are losing their homes. It’s terrible story after terrible story.
“I think there are a lot of people out there who are having problems and don’t know why they are having problems,” he adds. “This hasn’t become a giant public concern so far. You don’t have a lot of news coverage on it. I don’t think people really have the tools to know what is the cause of a lot of the problems they may be having.”
Full Article HERE