Lennar: Defective Chinese Drywall In 400 Homes

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Homebuilder Lennar Corp. has identified defective Chinese-made drywall in about 400 Florida homes, most built in the 2006 and 2007 fiscal years, according to a federal filing.

The Miami-based company said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week that the figure, based on accounting through May 31, represents only 2.1 percent of homes the company delivered in Florida during that time.

Lennar said it had not yet found defective drywall in any of its homes outside Florida, but continues to investigate.

The company said it has set aside $39.8 million in warranty reserves for homes that have the defective drywall and is seeking reimbursement from subcontractors, insurers and others for investigative and repair costs related to the problem.

State and federal tests have found high levels of sulfur and organic compounds in the Chinese drywall.

Homeowners across the country have sued builders, suppliers and manufacturers, claiming the fumes are ruining their houses and making them sick.

Lennar said it is named in at least 41 Florida state court lawsuits and two federal class action cases.

The company also said it filed suit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against the entire supply chain, including manufacturers of the defective product.

Shipping records reviewed by The Associated Press indicated that imports of potentially tainted Chinese building materials exceeded 500 million pounds during a four-year period of soaring home prices, peaking in 2006. The drywall may have been used in more than 100,000 homes, according to some estimates, including houses rebuilt after 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

The federal government and state agencies, which have received hundreds of complaints from homeowners, continue to investigate potential health hazards.

Meanwhile, federal lawsuits on behalf of hundreds of homeowners from Louisiana, Florida, Ohio and other states have been consolidated, and assigned to a U.S. district judge in New Orleans.

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