Colson Hicks Eidson partner, Patrick S. Montoya, recently spoke alongside Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson at a press conference on March 25 to call for action against the Chinese company Taishan Gypsum, who has been producing defective drywall and has ruined thousands of homes across the United States since 2006. The press conference was held at Florida International University, where they were joined by local families, represented by Montoya, who have been affected by the toxic drywall.
The press conference came as part of a bipartisan effort to hold Chinese drywall manufacturers such as Taishan responsible. A letter signed by nearly two dozen Florida lawmakers was also sent on Monday to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the U.S. Ambassador to China as part of the effort, which called for a resolution of the defective drywall claims against the Chinese companies be discussed, and that action be taken to prevent them from doing business in the U.S. until they resolve the injustice impacting thousands of American citizens.
“The recalcitrant and irresponsible Chinese companies have unjustly denied compensation to the victims for over 10 years. The time has come for these Chinese companies to act responsibly and fairly compensate the victims,” said Patrick S. Montoya. “We are thankful for the bipartisan coalition from Florida’s delegation that is supporting justice for Chinese drywall victims.”
More than 1,700 families in South Florida have been affected by the contaminated drywall, which creates a corrosive and toxic environment that affects people’s health as well as ruins appliances, electrical wiring, plumbing, air conditioning, and heating systems. The issue has forced these families to move out, file for bankruptcy or suffer through a foreclosure, in efforts to rid themselves of the defective drywall. Some families are currently living in toxicity due to the financial burden this problem has generated in their lives.
In 2013, U.S. Senators and Members of Congress filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Germano, et al. V. Taishan Gypsum Company Limited. The brief urged the Federal Courts to extend jurisdiction over the Chinese companies that manufactured contaminated drywall to ensure that American Victims could be made whole by companies. Since then, Taishan Gypsum, TTP, and BNBM (and their parents CNBM and CNBM Group) have used various legal tactics available to escape responsibility for their defective products.
Montoya represents a number of South Florida families affected by the defective drywall. The Florida lawmakers supporting the latest efforts in holding these Chinese companies accountable include U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, and Members of Congress Mario Diaz-Balart, Ted Deutch, Ted S. Yoho, Alcee L. Hastings, Gus M. Bilirakis, Frederica Wilson, Bill Posey, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Matt Gaetz, Lois Frankel, John Rutherford, Al Lawson, Michael Waltz, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Neal Dunn, Donna Shalala, and Francis Rooney.
With more than 15 years of experience, Montoya represents plaintiffs in personal injury litigation, commercial litigation, products liability, aviation law, construction law, toxic torts, class action, and wrongful death. He has secured numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for his clients, including a recent $52 million verdict in Ocala, the largest in Ocala history, for a family involved in a catastrophic car accident.
A fellow of the American Bar Association, Montoya currently serves on the Dade County Bar Association board of directors and was recently honored with the prestigious Theodore Klein Award by the Florida Association of Women Lawyers (FAWL) for his steadfast dedication to supporting women’s issues and advancement. He also previously served as president of the Miami Chapter of the American Inns of Court and on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida’s Ad Hoc Committee on Rules and Procedures.
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About Colson Hicks Eidson
The Law Firm of Colson Hicks Eidson is a trial firm with 50 years of experience handling local, national and international litigation, and arbitration. Members of the firm have been involved in some of the country’s most high-profile and landmark cases resulting in impactful and precedential rulings. A mid-size firm with a diverse staff comprised of more than 50 percent women and minorities, Colson Hicks Eidson prides itself on a track record of developing future leaders within the legal profession and its civic and community involvement. Members of the firm have held notable positions serving on the boards of prominent institutions, such as the State University System of Florida and the Florida State Board of Education, and holding high-ranking offices, including President of the 60,000-member American Association for Justice; President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; President of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers; President of the Dade County Bar Association; President of the Miami-Dade Florida Association of Women Lawyers; United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Chairman of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission.