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A legal case dating back nearly 10 years is back in the federal court system in Norfolk, Va., according to the Virginian-Pilot. A Norfolk area homeowner is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against Chinese drywall maker Taishan Gypsum and Beijing New Building Materials Public Limited, alleging the Chinese-made drywall in her condo harbored hydrogen sulfide, which destroyed electrical wiring, fried appliances, corroded personal items, and sickened residents.

The case spent years in Louisiana as part of a class-action suit, but now Michelle Germano, the lead plaintiff, is joined by 174 other plaintiffs as the case returns to Norfolk federal court.

Lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Richard Serpe, said nearly 100 million square feet of Chinese drywall was used during the U.S. housing boom. Of that, 7 million was sold through Norfolk-based Venture Supply, which supplied the drywall inside each of the plaintiffs' homes. Germano's was one of thousands of homes built with the material, which came into demand after hurricanes and a housing boom had shrunk U.S. supply.

Part of the case's complicated history is a web of legal suits, some that benefited homeowners, others like Germano's, that left them fighting a foreign company with a history of being non-responsive in court.

Lawyers for the two Chinese companies being sued said there was genuine lack of understanding initially before the legal teams were brought on in 2015. Atlanta attorney Bernard Taylor told the Norfolk court that since then they've been trying to move as quickly as possible and ascertain who Taishan Gypsum owes and how much.

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