时间:2017年10月24日 12:07:51

Elizabeth Heischober has been waiting nearly five years for a Chinese company to honor a court judgment for contaminated drywall that upended her life, made her sick and wrecked her finances. Until now, she wondered if it would ever happen.快五年了,伊丽莎白·海斯科(Elizabeth Heischober)一直在等待一家中国公司执行法庭判决。这家公司生产的有毒石膏板打乱了她的生活,害她生了病,还毁了她的财务状况。直到不久前,她都不确定这一天是否会到来。“We’d pretty much given up hope,” she said. “It’s been a nightmare.”“我们差不多已经放弃希望了,”她说。“这是一个噩梦。”American consumers like Mrs. Heischober who have been hurt by defective products made by Chinese companies frequently have little recourse. But in a stunning turn of events, a Chinese drywall manufacturer has agreed to pay the damages owed her and six other Virginia families.像海斯科这样受到中国公司制造的劣质产品伤害的美国消费者,往往没有多少手段可以依靠。然而,事态却出现了惊人的逆转,一家中国石膏板生产商已经同意向她和另外六个弗吉尼亚家庭付所欠的赔偿金。“It’s amazing,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor and product liability expert at the University of Richmond. “Americans trying to hold Chinese companies accountable in U.S. courts? They basically never succeed.”“这太不可思议了,”里士满大学(University of Richmond)的法学教授、产品责任专家卡尔·托比亚斯(Carl Tobias)说。“美国人想要在美国法院追究中国公司的责任?基本上从没成功过。”The judgment against the Taishan Gypsum Company, a state-controlled company, dates to 2010, when a New Orleans federal judge ruled that the company was liable for .6 million to fix the homes of the seven Virginia families. The seven were used as a so-called bellwether case — a test trial of sorts for the issues surrounding complex litigation — to represent the owners of about 4,000 houses nationwide built with Taishan’s drywall. It emitted sulfur gases that corrode metal wiring and pipes, short-circuit electronics and can lead to numerous respiratory ailments.这项针对中国国有企业泰山石膏股份有限公司的裁决,要追溯到2010年。当时,新奥尔良的一位联邦法官判定,这家公司有责任付260万美元(约合1600万元人民币),以修复这七个弗吉尼亚家庭的房屋。这桩官司被当做所谓的“领头羊案件”——对于复杂诉讼问题的试探性审理——代表的是全美约4000栋使用了泰山公司石膏板的房屋的业主。这种石膏板会释放含硫气体,能腐蚀金属布线和管道、使电子产品短路,还能引发大量的呼吸系统疾病。But the company never paid. While another Chinese drywall manufacturer owned by a German company settled with victims, Taishan filed multiple appeals and challenged the jurisdiction of the federal court. Then, when the Fifth Circuit finally ruled in favor of the homeowners, the company pulled a Houdini act: It dismissed its lawyers and stopped showing up in court.然而,这家公司一直没有付赔偿金。尽管一家德国企业旗下的另一家中国石膏板生产商与受害人达成了和解,但泰山石膏公司多次提起上诉,对联邦法院的判决表示不。后来,当第五巡回法院最终做出了持业主的判决之后,公司耍了一个胡迪尼魔术般的花招:它解雇了律师,再也不在法庭上露面了。Federal District Judge Eldon E. Fallon, who oversaw the wide-ranging drywall litigation in New Orleans, responded with a scathing rebuke to the company and its affiliates — all controlled by the Chinese government.在新奥尔良负责这宗覆盖面颇广的石膏板诉讼的联邦地区法院法官埃尔登·E·法伦(Eldon E. Fallon),强烈谴责了这家公司及其附属公司。这些企业均由中国政府控制。Last summer, he found Taishan in civil and criminal contempt of court, and barred the company, and its parent corporations, from doing business in the ed States.去年夏天,他裁定泰山石膏公司犯有刑事和民事类的藐视法庭行为,并禁止这家企业及其母公司在美国开展业务。But just recently, as a March 26 hearing approached at which Judge Fallon was expected to hand down a judgment for the entire class of Taishan homeowners — potentially more than billion in damages — the company suddenly reappeared, along with a new set of lawyers, from a well-known Atlanta firm, Alston amp; Bird.不过,就在最近,随着3月26日的听会的临近——预计法伦法官将在会上针对所有使用泰山公司石膏板的房主做出裁决,可能会涉及逾10亿美元的赔偿金——这家公司突然再度现身,还聘请了一帮来自亚特兰大知名律所奥斯顿与伯德(Alston amp; Bird)的新律师。On Tuesday, Taishan’s lawyers appeared in the New Orleans courtroom with a stunning announcement: The company would pay the court-ordered damages to the Virginia families it had fought for years to avoid.周二,泰山的律师团出现在了新奥尔良的法院,并宣布了一个令人震惊的消息:公司将向这七个弗吉尼亚家庭付多年来一直想方设法逃避的法庭赔偿金。Those involved in the yearslong legal battle say the company’s decision could clear a path toward relief for the entire class of victims, though that remains far from certain.了解这场持续多年的诉讼战的人士表示,泰山公司的决定可能会为所有受害者获得赔偿扫清障碍,不过这一点还远非板上钉钉。Mrs. Heischober, who lives with her husband, Steve, near Virginia Beach, said that while she was relieved at the news, she worried about others still waiting for help.海斯科和丈夫史蒂夫(Steve)生活在弗吉尼亚比奇附近。她说,尽管这个消息令自己颇为欣慰,但她对其他仍然在等待帮助的人感到担心。“It’s a huge relief, but it’s just for seven of us,” she said. “There are thousands who aren’t as lucky right now.”“这是一个很大的宽慰,但只是我们七家,”她说。“目前还有几千个家庭没有这么幸运。”Lawyers for Taishan did not return telephone calls seeking comment on Wednesday.泰山的律师周三没有回复请求置评的电话。Mrs. Heischober, 63, said the couple originally planned to retire and live out their lives in the Virginia home. But the tainted drywall ended those dreams. After nearly two years of respiratory problems and the death of their previously healthy dog, the couple fled the home to live at a friend’s house. They then rented a tiny, run-down house, and put their personal items in storage, hoping that the court-ordered judgment would finally come through and they could fix their now-empty dream home.现年63岁的海斯科说,他们夫妇本来打算退休,在弗吉尼亚的房子里安度晚年。然而,有毒的石膏让这些梦想化为了泡影。在被呼吸系统的疾病困扰了近两年、原本健康的也死去了之后,老两口逃出了自家的屋子,住到了朋友的房子里。他们后来租了一座很小很破的房子,把一些私人物品封存了起来,希望法庭的判决最终会执行,自己可以修好已然空置的那栋梦想中的房子。But as time dragged on, they could no longer afford the mortgage on the empty house, which had been worth close to 0,000. They sold it for 0,000 in 2011, in a so-called short sale, to a commercial developer with plans to gut it and rebuild. Their credit was destroyed — so much so that in 2012 when they tried to buy a modest home to start over, the bank they had dealt with for 25 years denied them a mortgage.可是,随着时间的拖延,他们已经无法担负这栋空置房屋的按揭贷款了,而房子的价值此时已接近80万美元。2011年,他们通过“短售”交易以39万美元把它卖给了一家商业开发商,后者计划将其毁掉重建。他们的信用记录也毁了——以致于当他们2012年想要购买一栋简朴的房子重新开始时,打了25年交道的那家拒绝向他们提供按揭贷款。When a local banker finally gave them a small loan, Mrs. Heischober said she went to open the boxes of personal items that had been in storage. “The smell just about knocked me over,” she said. “I thought after two years that smell would be gone, but nope. I just threw everything away.”后来,一家当地终于向他们提供了一笔小型贷款。海斯科说,此时她去打开了那些装着他们个人物品的箱子。“那味道差点把我们熏倒,”她说。“我以为两年之后,气味会消失,但根本没有。我干脆把所有东西都扔了。” /201503/365661

Planes and ships from south-east Asian states have joined forces to search the South China Sea for a Malaysia Airlines jet, missing with 239 people on board.据新华社报道,马来西亚代理交通部长希沙姆丁·敦·侯赛因8日当天下午在吉隆坡国际机场附近一家酒店举行的新闻发布会上说,目前参与联合搜救的国家有中国、马来西亚、印度尼西亚、新加坡、越南及菲律宾。马来西亚出动了海军空军参与搜救。Flight MH370 vanished at 18:40 GMT Friday (02:40 local time Saturday) after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, where it was expected at 22:30 GMT.据联合早报报道,新加坡空军部队已派遣一架C130大力士运输机协助搜寻失联的马航客机。The aerial search has been halted for the night but sea operations continue.据路透社报道,马来西亚首相纳吉布8日说,美国派出飞机和海军舰艇,协助搜索援助马来西亚航空MH370航班失联事故。No wreckage has been reported by the airline, but Vietnamese planes reported seeing oil slicks in the sea.据悉,目前搜救行动的参与机构包括马航,马来西亚民航局、皇家空军部队及海军部队,马来西亚海事执行机构,以及泰国,越南,菲律宾,中国,以及包括新加坡与澳洲,英国,马来西亚,新西兰等在内的综合区域方位系统总部,还有美国位于夏威夷的太平洋指挥部。 The Vietnamese government said two slicks, about 15km (9 miles) long, were consistent with those that could be left by an airliner and had been detected off southern Vietnam.However, there is no confirmation the slicks relate to the missing plane.马来西亚航空公司代码为MH370吉隆坡至北京航班客机于吉隆坡时间8日0时41分从吉隆坡出发,原定于北京时间6时30分抵达。客机于吉隆坡时间2时40分左右同马来西亚苏邦空中交通控制中心失去联络。 /201403/279200

文章编辑: 周报