A Palm Beach County, Fla. Circuit Court Judge has ruled that builders and installers cannot be held liable for negligence for Chinese drywall installed during home construction if they did not have actual or implied notice of a defect in the drywall at the time of construction.

Judge Glenn Kelley of the 15th Judicial Circuit issued an order that is applicable to all lawsuits in Palm Beach County late Wednesday.

"Judge Kelley's ruling is an important victory for the homebuilding industry, as it adds clarity and requires that builders and their subcontractors have knowledge of potential drywall defects at the time of construction," said Stacy Bercun Bohm, a member of the legal team from the Akerman Senterfitt Construction practicethat litigated the case.

Several plaintiffs in various states have brought legal action against builders, charging that they should have known about the defective Chinese Drywall and therefore are liable for damages. The judge's ruling dismisses that argument.

"We are hopeful that this decision will be adopted by other judicial circuits as well as in the multi-district litigation currently pending in a federal court in Louisiana," said Leslie Tomczak, the lead attorney on the case for Akerman.