$125,000 Baltimore Bed Bug Bite Injury Settlement

In this Baltimore bed bug apartment case, the bed bug attorneys at Whitney, LLP settled our client’s bed bug bite injury, emotional distress and property damage claim against the landlord for $125,000 after filing a bed bug lawsuit.  Baltimore landlords, and landlords everywhere, have a duty to provide bed bug free apartments. When they breach that duty, tenants have many legal rights to recover for injuries suffered as a result of that breach.  A failure to ensure that apartments are free of bed bug infestation can be an expensive lesson for the at fault landlord and property manager.  

Whitney, LLP’s bed bug claim and litigation lawyers have recovered over $8,000,000 in settlements and judgments for clients in Maryland and across the United States in bed bug injury and property damage claims cases involving apartments, hotels, resorts and in other situations.  All case evaluations are free, and our bed bug injury client’s expenses and attorney’s fees are paid from compensation recovered by Whitney, LLP.  Contact Whitney, LLP now for a free case evaluation at 410 583 8000 or use our online Quick Contact Form.

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A mattress and boxspring next to a dumpster at a bed bug infested apartment complex. This is a sign of a bed bug infestation.

Trying to Lease a BedBug Free Apartment

Our client was a young woman moving into her first apartment in Baltimore.  She previously had lived with her mother and decided it was time for her to live by herself. After researching online and looking at places within her budget, she found an apartment at a large apartment complex that seemed to meet her criteria: clean, safe and cheap.  Because she had done her research, before signing the lease and moving in, she asked the leasing consultant if the apartment was clean, safe and free of any insects. She was told yes and to not worry. She had no idea of what was being hidden from her, and she moved in.  At the time, she did not know that the mattresses and box springs she saw next to dumpsters at the apartment complex, as shown above, were signs of an ongoing and untreated bed bug infestation. 

What many renters do not know, and what Whitney, LLP’s attorneys have learned from depositions of leasing agents and property managers, is that leasing agents are trained to evade direct questions by potential renters about the condition of the apartment, and instead just say “yes” or use other answers designed to get the potential tenant to sign the lease.  In the hundreds of bedbug claims reviewed by Whitney, LLP’s bed bug lawyers, we have not had a situation where a leasing agent truthfully disclosed a history of bed bugs in an apartment to a potential tenant.

Once our client moved in, within a few weeks she began to experience itchy red rashes and bite marks on her skin.  At first she did not know what it was, but then she began to see little bugs crawling on the walls and floor of the apartment.  She then realized the bugs were bed bugs. Prior to moving in, she had never experienced bed bugs before.

 

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Bed bug bites on our client’s neck shortly after moving into the infested apartment.

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Bed bug bites our client’s arm after moving into the infested apartment.

MOVING INTO A BED BUG INFESTED APARTMENT

Our client reported the bed bugs infestation and her bed bug bites to the leasing office within two weeks of moving in.  The leasing office sent out their in-house maintenance team to treat for the bed bugs. However, the untrained and incompetent maintenance men did not use proper inspection techniques or the proper treatment chemicals.  Due to their incompetence, the infestation lasted for months longer than it should have. Finally, the property manager hired a licensed pest control extermination company to perform several treatments. These treatments provided temporary relief, but due to the bed bug infestation that was present in over 50% of the apartments in the same building, our client’s apartment soon became reinfested.

When our client stopped paying rent due to the ongoing infestation, the property management company filed a rent action against her. Even worse, they stopped performing any treatment at all in the apartment, leaving our client to suffer.

Shortly thereafter, our client could not take it anymore and found Whitney, LLP’s Baltimore bed bug claim and lawsuit lawyers online and called us.  We quickly assessed her case and contacted the landlord to make them aware that our client had obtained Whitney, LLP to represent them involving the bed bug infestation.  Their lawyer was with a law firm with whom Whitney, LLP had previously dealt with in similar bed bugs cases. The first step was to negotiate the release of our client from the lease for the infested apartment without releasing any of her claims for bodily injury, emotional distress or property damage, which the landlord agreed to.

Ineffective Treatment of Bed Bugs by Landlord’s Maintenance Men

Once our client was safely out of the infested apartment, Whitney, LLP worked to reach a fair settlement of her bed bug claims before filing a lawsuit. However, the landlord was unwilling to pay a reasonable amount of money to compensate our client for the bed bug bites and emotional distress she had suffered.  As we have done dozens of times for clients in Maryland and in other states, we filed a lawsuit against the property manager and owner of the infested property. Although we have filed dozens of bed bug lawsuits against property managers and hotel operators, it was still surprising what we found out during the course of the lawsuit.

This particular apartment complex and property management company had a long standing policy of using unlicensed and untrained maintenance men to treat apartments when their tenants complained about bed bugs.  Their internal records showed them ordering bulk quantities of an ineffective over the counter chemical spray, which they applied ineffectively to their tenants’ apartments. Even worse, they routinely failed to inspect adjacent apartments to the infested apartment, making reinfestation a routine occurrence.  Whitney, LLP took five depositions of the property manager’s employees, and obtained hundreds of pages of internal records and work orders. It quickly became evident that they were handling bed bug treatment in-house to avoid spending money, all at the expense of their tenants who were having to live with long term bed bug infestations.

INVESTIGATING  INFESTED APARTMENT BED BUG CLAIMS

As part of our investigation, Whitney, LLP found and spoke with the prior tenant of the apartment that our client moved into.  As experienced bed bug claim attorneys, Whitney, LLP has experience finding the prior tenant and speaking with them as part of the case investigation in any bed bug infested apartment case. The prior tenant often has very valuable information and can confirm that the property manager or landlord was aware of the bed bug infestation before they moved our client into the infested apartment.  Legally, that is referred to as “actual notice,”and can be a very important part of putting together a successful bed bug claim. Whitney, LLP’s bed bug attorney Daniel Whitney, Jr. called the prior tenant and spoke with her, and, as many prior tenants of bed bug infested apartments are, she was very helpful. She quickly shared that she had experienced a bed bug infestation in the apartment several months before our client moved in.  She also said that although she had reported the infestation to the property manager, they only inspected it once and told her she did not have a problem, and then ignored her when she called a second time. Often times speaking with the prior tenant is the smoking gun, and that was exactly the case here.

Bedbug Bite Injury Lawsuit Settles for $125,000

Once Whitney, LLP gathered all of the facts of the case and spoke with all of the witnesses, we made another settlement demand for more money than previously due to evidence we had uncovered.  Often times, as a bed bug case progresses and the case is investigated, additional troubling information is discovered, which increases the value of the claim.

During her tenancy, our client had suffered bed bug bites across her body from the infestation, had sleepless nights, and had suffered from embarrassment and anxiety about being bitten and spreading the infestation to her workplace and anywhere else she went.  She was a very nice young woman and did not deserve any of this that had happened to her. Based on her injuries and emotional distress, and the evidence we uncovered, along with Whitney, LLP’s expertise and experience in bed bug claims and lawsuits, we were prepared for trial. However, shortly before trial, we were able to reach a fair settlement for our client for $125,000 for the bodily injury, emotional distress and property damage she had suffered as the result of being tricked into moving into the infested apartment.  Our client was able to use her settlement proceeds to lease a new, bed bug free apartment, and move past this unpleasant chapter of her life.

How to Find a Bed Bug Attorney for Injury Claims

Call or email Whitney, LLP’s bedbug attorneys  to discuss your potential bed bug bite injury and property damage claims. Our client in this case found Whitney, LLP’s bed bug attorney by researching online and reading about our success handling bed bug claims.  As with all of our bed bug clients in similar situations, Whitney, LLP’s attorney’s fees and case expenses were paid out of the settlement money paid by the insurance company of the owner and operator of the apartment complex.  Whitney, LLP represents clients in bed bug claims and lawsuits for bed bug damages in Maryland and across the United States. We have recovered over $8,000,000 for victims of bed bugs at infested apartments and hotels.

If you or a friend or family member has experienced a bed bug infestation or bed bug bites, Call Us at 410 583 8000 or use our online Quick Contact Form. Consultations are free, and an experienced bedbug attorney will review your case quickly.