Category Archives: Law

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Mold Attacks Native American reservation

Mold has infested and sickened public housing units at the Lac Courte Oreille Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation. Now the question is posed if the tribe has mishandled $1 million in taxpayer money. A grant was awarded, but only a handful of houses have been repaired, and the cost to complete the repairs has grown substantially. A hundred members of the Lac Courte Oreille Band have requested a forensic audit of tribal accounts.


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$135 Million in Settlement to Family of Hospital’s Deceased Mold Victim


Tracy Fischer died in October 2014 after contracting a fungal infection at UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh. After staying in the same room in the hospital’s cardiothoracic intensive care unit as two other patients who later died with fungal infections, Tracy Fischer also died.

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said a specially ventilated room in the hospital’s cardiothoracic intensive care unit was likely to have been the source of the mold. In the autopsy report, Dr. Jeffrey Nine, a UPMC pathologist wrote “To the best of my knowledge, this 47-year-old woman died of angioinvasive mucormycosis as a complication of post-transplant immunosuppression following orthotopic heart transplantation.”

After the mold outbreak at the hospital, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) suspended its transplant program for less than a week.

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Ill Woman Sues Drake Hotel over Moldy Rooms

Lori Ficarra, who allegedly became sick after residing in a moldy hotel room, has filed a lawsuit against Drake Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, being operated/owned by the Hilton Worldwide Inc., LCP Berkshire LLC, and HPP Hotels USA Inc.

According to the lawsuit, Ficarra resided in the hotel room on August 23, 2013. She started feeling ill on August 24 after which, her health conditions worsened on August 27 when she vomited blood and got admitted in Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

The lawsuit claims that due to alleged nuisance and negligence of the hotel operators in the form of moldy walls, floors and ceilings, Ficarra became severely sick.

The lawsuit seeks damages worth more than $100,000 as well as attorney’s fees and costs.


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Parents Detained, Children Removed from the House Covered with Black Mold

Odessa Police have arrested the parents of a 5-month-old girl and 23-month-old boy, after animal feces, exposed wires and black mold was found in their Odessa home.

Both the children have been placed in a foster care. According to Child Protective Services (CPS) spokesperson Marleigh Meisner, “We remove children if the unsanitary conditions affect the safety and well-being of the children.”

The parents, William Charles Spires, 24, and Bailey Renae Schmidt, 21, are being held at Ector County Detention Center. According to Odessa Police spokesperson Cpl. Steve LeSueur, they have been charged for endangering the children, which is a state jail felony.


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California Board of Equalization Faces $50M Claim Over Mold-related Illness

The California Board of Equalization (BOE) is facing a new claim filed by their employees, who say that the mold at the BOE headquarters has been causing them respiratory problems, skin rashes and other mold-related illness.

The claim is not the first one; a previous lawsuit regarding mold-related illness in BOE employees involved 31 plaintiffs and was resolved back in 2012.

This new claim was brought by an associate tax auditor with BOE, Racquel Raichart, on behalf of herself and the other employees. Attorney Anthony Perez, who filed the claim with the state of California on July 2, has accused the BOE management of misleading the employees by telling them that the building was mold free. “People continue to show problems of mold exposure. You have management stating to employees that the building is safe, and that remediation has been successful. That is untrue,” said Perez.

The claim seeks at least $50 million for the medical care and treatment of the employees. Perez said that in the next few months, a lawsuit will be filed Sacramento Superior Court.


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Mayor Bill de Blasio Signs Law Requiring Mold Resistant building Materials

New York city Mayor, Bill de Blasio, has signed a bill presented by the councilman Steven Matteo, which necessitates the use of mold-resistant building materials in the moisture prone areas of the houses.

The bill, which has now become a law, was presented due to the moist conditions experienced following the Hurricane Sandy. According to de Blasio, “This is an issue I worked on quite a bit, particularly in the aftermath of Sandy, and I think this is a very enlightened piece of legislation to help us get at a problem more fundamentally and more consistently.”

Councilman Steven Matteo said, “You could see residents bringing out the boards that were wet, dripping, and you knew this wasn’t going to be good going forward, and we had to step up.”

The new law requires the use of mold-resistant gypsum or cement board in flood and moisture prone areas including bathrooms and laundry areas.


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Another Mold Lawsuit

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Mold lawsuits strike again: This time, Akeidra Massey and Joseph Jacks filed suit against Willwoods Community, Willwoods Community Management Inc. and their insurer in the 24th Judicial District Court on March 26.

The attorney defending Akeidra Massey and Joseph Jacks is J. Nelson Mauyer III of New Orleans.

These tenants of the Courtyard Apartments were exposed to high levels of mold. Repairs not made after water intrusion during Hurricane Isaac may have been the cause.

Landlords failed to maintain the premises in a reasonable and safe condition, leading to illness, leading to severe injuries, leading to the lawsuit.

Louisiana’s humidity and water issues frequently lead to mold-related pain, suffering, disability and economic loss.


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Jury Awarded $12.4 Million to Building Owners for Suing Builders over Mold Issue

Category : Detection , Law , Residential

A jury in Polk county, Florida, has rewarded the apartment complex owners who sued the apartment builders for leakage and mold in the building.

The jury has awarded $12.4 million to the owners, in what is being regarded as the greatest judgment of this kind.

The owners complained that the Westlake apartments and condos, a 300-unit complex, took years to get rid of the leakage and mold issue, which occurred due to the negligence of builders.


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Failure To Disclose Big Toxic Problems

Category : Law , Mold Reports , Testing

Now sick from living in toxic mold, homeowners are suing a California realtor, home inspector, and mortgage lender for failing to disclose elevated levels of toxic mold in their just-purchased San Diego home. The couple now suffers from memory loss, headaches, chronic tiredness, sinus problems, and respiratory problems such as difficulty in breathing and frequent coughing and sneezing.

Toxic mold thriving in the crawl space, heating/cooling equipment and ducts has made the couple sick.

A quote from an inspector says “Almost all of the wood timbers in the crawl space were encrusted with mold growth…years in the making. The lack of adequate waterproofing of the crawl space and basement walls and floors that enabled water runoff from neighboring, higher-elevation home lots and the roadway to enter into the crawl space.”

We recommend if you have your house tested and it turns out you need remediation, use an independent remediation company. It is always better if your mold tester or hygienist not have a vested interest in the test results.


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Mold Agency

Dear George,
Is there an agency that issues an inspection and clearance certificate after mold abatement to a commercial building? Please advise.

signed,
California

Dear California,

California is one of only a few states which have taken steps toward establishing permissible mold standards.

California’s “Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001” authorizes the state’s Department of Health Services (now called the Department of Health Care Services) to set permissible levels of indoor mold exposure for sensitive populations

The Department of Health Care Services is legally able to develop identification and remediation standards for contractors, owners, and landlords. Landlords have responsibility of disclosure to tenants of mold.

The guidelines for mold are that there should be no visible mold growth and that the results of the air sampling is equal to or less than the baseline sampling outdoors.

The inspection company–NOT a state agency– issues a report proving that the building passes guidelines for occupancy.

Your local Health Dept will be usually be something like the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

FYI California contact information can be found in this HAZARD EVALUATION SYSTEM & INFORMATION SERVICE .pdf.