Rumberger’s Robert Fitzsimmons Appointed to National Chinese Drywall Multidistrict Litigation Defense Team
Fitzsimmons to Serve as Lead Counsel for Installers
MIAMI – Bob Fitzsimmons, a partner with Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, has been appointed to serve as the lead counsel for installers involved in multidistrict Chinese drywall litigation by Judge Eldon Fallon of the United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana. In this role, Fitzsimmons will work with Phillip A. Wittmann, the appointed contractors’ liaison counsel, to address the important complex issues facing affected drywall installers from across the nation.
From 2004 through 2006, the housing boom and rebuilding efforts created by several hurricanes led to a shortage of construction materials, including drywall. As a result, drywall manufactured in China was brought into the United States and used in the construction and refurbishing of homes in coastal areas of the country, notably the Gulf Coast and East Coast.
Sometime after the installation of the Chinese drywall, homeowners began to complain of emissions of smelly gasses, the corrosion and blackening of metal wiring, surfaces, and objects, and the breaking down of appliances and electrical devices in their homes. Many of these homeowners also began to complain of various physical afflictions believed to be caused by the Chinese drywall. Accordingly, these homeowners began to file suit in various state and federal courts against homebuilders, developers, installers, realtors, brokers, suppliers, importers, exporters, distributors, and manufacturers who were involved with the Chinese drywall. Because of the commonality of facts in the various cases, this litigation was designated as multidistrict litigation. This procedure is utilized in the federal court system to transfer to one federal judge all pending civil cases of a similar type filed throughout the United States.
Bob Fitzsimmons has more than 27 years of experience handling and trying a broad variety of commercial, construction and insurance-related cases. He serves as chair of the Defense Research Institute’s Construction Law Committee’s Construction Contract and Delay Damages specialized litigation group. Fitzsimmons most recently served as Co-Chair of the HarrisMartin’s Chinese Drywall Litigation Conference held in June in Orlando, Florida and served as a featured speaker during the DRI’s live webcast regarding “Chinese Drywall Litigation: Emerging Developments and Legal Theories.”
Fitzsimmons earned his law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1982.
Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell provides litigation and counseling services in a wide range of civil practice areas including products liability, commercial litigation, intellectual property, environmental, employment, insurance, professional liability, health care and administrative law. Offices are located in Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Tallahassee and Birmingham, Alabama.