Bed Bug Lawsuits Are On the Rise! Make Your Property Bed Bud Proactive!
Bed Bug Lawsuits Are On the Rise!
Make Your Property Bed Bud Proactive!
Lawyer are hitting the scene, arming themselves to fight increasingly common and costly court battles against bed bugs.
Many of these plaintiffs are winning! Last year a Maryland jury awarded an elderly woman $850,000 in damages after she suffered bed bug bites in an apartment she said the landlord knew was infested. The landlord even had an official city order to eradicate the problem before the woman moved in. He continued to rent out dwellings – costing him hundreds of thousands of dollars more than if he had sought professional extermination. In her court testimony, the 69-year-old tenant said she showed her rash-like welts to the landlord who insisted he didn’t know what they were from. Months later a county housing worker informed the woman they were bed bug bites and a lawsuit was filed by the elderly woman. The jury deliberated for less than one hour before reaching a verdict, awarding the woman TWICE the amount she originally sought. In essence, the legal system is showing it will not tolerate negligence.
And it’s not the first lawsuit of its kind.
In Iowa, nearly 300 residents filed a civil class-action lawsuit in 2011 against the building managers of two separate apartment complexes. Residents claimed they were deceptively led to believe their apartments were habitable when they signed leases only to discover the units were infested with bed bugs after they moved in. The lawsuit went to the state’s Superior Court for review and is pending. Attorneys say that when cases like this are filed, plaintiffs can be awarded damages for ascertainable losses, and up to four times those damages if they can prove willful misconduct on the part of the property managers.
One of the earliest lawsuits was filed in 2000 and won by two siblings who stayed in a Chicago Motel 6 that was infested with bed bugs. The plaintiffs told the judge they awakened at 1 a.m. to find bed bugs scurrying for cover under the sheets and roaming the walls, lamps and beds of the hotel room. The pair sued and won $191,000 each in damages.
The case, Mathias vs. Accor Economy Lodging, is notable in that the exterminating company used by the motel found bed bugs in several rooms two years before the couple discovered them. The exterminating company offered a mere $500 to the hotel to eliminate the pests, but the hotel refused the service, proving to be a costly mistake for the motel’s financial stability and reputation. It appears this new trend in bed bug lawsuits is not going away anytime soon.
Bed bug infestations are reaching epidemic numbers across the country due to increased travel, the ban of DDT use (a potent chemical that nearly eradicated the pests decades ago), and the insect’s increased resistance to common pesticides. Infestations are creating social and health nuisances for hotel, apartment, and movie theater owners, among others who manage public spaces. The public is not patient with these encounters.
It is wise for proprty owners, and landlords to have a proactive strategy in place and use treatment methods and equipment that actually work. By being proactive a property owner can avoid lawsuits and claims by managing their units with the highest standards of care, especially now that attorneys are appealing to the public to take action with high-dollar lawsuits.
Savvy and proactive landlords hire save thousands of professional bed bug heat treatment by doing it themselves. Our Convectex bed bug training will help you establish regular inspection reports that will offer a level of protection that can be presented in court. Not doing anything can create a significant legal, financial and public relations burden.
Call Today to Do-It-Yourself and Get Your Property Proactive Bed Bug Protection!