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$375K mold verdict
HABC loses challenge to $375K mold verdict
A three judge panel unanimously upheld the award of non-economic damages in spite of the HABC argument that the amount of the award was "shocking and excessive." In September 2006, the jury awarded Pratt $175,000 in non-economic damages. Bills and Roy were awarded $100,000 each. HABC appealed, and the court heard argument in November 2007.
Scott E. Nevin of the Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl (who represented Mary Roy, Louise Bills and Johnnie Pratt) said, “It’s unfortunate … they seem to put more effort into trying to fight these cases than trying to fix the property.”
The converted three-story schoolhouse that was the source of the problem provides housing for people with disabilities. Roy had arthritis, Pratt was a recovering addict with mental depression, and Bills had been diagnosed with degenerative spinal disease. The award's recipients, Roy, Bills and Pratt, were residents of Homewood House. Nevin, who filed the case in January 2005, said Pratt and Roy have since moved out of Homewood House.
The Court of Special Appeals has held that Baltimore housing authority must pay more than $375,000 to three individuals sickened by black mold and fungi in their apartments.
Retired Judge Charles E. Moylan Jr. wrote for the appellate panel that “The building itself was as ailing as were its tenants, and that is the nub of the case...It had been suffering from years of neglect at the hands of the HABC.”
The roof and ventilation system were in poor repair, allowing water to infiltrate the building and pool at the bottom of the elevator shaf which contributed to the colonies of stachybotrys and penicillum/aspergillus which caused the plaintiffs their respiratory distress and neurological damage.
Moylan wrote that “HABC focused its defense on the [residents’] proof of the causal connection between the mold in 2200 Homewood Avenue and the medical conditions [they] suffered.”
On behalf of a client in a different building, Nevin has another mold case pending against HABC scheduled for trial in June.