$125,000 Bed Bug Lawyers Settle Maryland Lawsuit
On September 4, 2015, our clients entered into a written lease for an apartment located in Prince George’s County, Maryland managed by a large property management company. Previously, the bed bug attorneys here at Whitney, LLP had sued this property management company for bed bugs claims and recovered large settlements. Unfortunately for our clients, shortly after moving in, they would require our bed bug lawyer services. Fortunately for them, Whitney, LLP is very experienced with bed bug claims and lawsuits and settled their case for $125,000 after filing a lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries, emotional distress and property damage. Here is their story.
Bed Bug Claims Lawyers In Prince George’s County
Prince George’s County has an ongoing and serious bed bug infestation problem. We know this because we constantly receive phone calls and emails from apartement tenants in Prince George’s County who are dealing with bed bug infestations and need legal help. Prince George’s County is home to many apartment complexes located the municipalities of Upper Marlboro, College Park, Oxon Hill, Bladensburg, Cheverly, Bowie, Greenbelt, District Heights, National Harbor, Brentwood, Hyattsville, Capitol Heights, Landover, Mount Ranier, Glenarden, Laurel Lanham, Riverdale Park, New Carrollton and Berwyn Heights. We handle apartment bed bug cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and Maryland on behalf of apartment tenants and renters who need help with bed bug infestation. We have successfully helped our clients recover millions of dollars for bed bug bites, scarring from bed bug bites, property loss, lost wages, and emotional distress.
Our clients, a young couple with four young children, moved into the Apartment on September 11, 2015. Prior to signing the lease for the Apartment, our clients specifically told the leasing agent that one of their young sons was highly allergic to insects, and asked if the Apartment and the apartment complex in general had any bug problems. The leasing agent specifically assured our clients, prior to the lease being signed, that the Apartment was free of infestation from insects and that the apartment complex as a whole did not have any bug problems.
As our clients would quickly come to find, not only were the leasing agent’s statements false, but that this was not the first time the same leasing agent had misled a potential tenant of of the same apartment complex about the presence of bed bugs in a rental unit.
Tricked Into Leasing a Bed Bug Infested Apartment
On our clients’ first evening in the Apartment after moving their furniture in, the father found a bed bug in the master bedroom of the Apartment and found another bed bug covered in white paint that had been painted over on a wall of the Apartment. He reported finding the bugs to the leasing agent, who stated that the bed bugs were from the prior tenant, and that the problem had been fixed. Disturbed, but still willing to believe the leasing agent, our clients remained in the Apartment. However, our clients soon discovered that the leasing agent had again deceived them, and that the Apartment contained an active infestation of bed bugs.
Emails produced by the property management company show that they knew the Apartment had not received the treatments it required due to bed bugs being discovered four months before our clients moved in. In fact, no bed bug treatments had been performed despite bed bugs being confirmed while the apartment was vacant during an inspection by employees.
Bed Bug Lawyers Investigate Bed Bug Claims and Find Fraud
As part of Whitney, LLP’s investigation after filing the lawsuit for our clients, we discovered that the prior tenant of the Apartment had moved out due to the bed bug infestation four months before our clients moved in, and that the Apartment was never properly treated for bed bugs prior to our clients moving in.
Records that we obtained of complaints made by the prior tenant to the Prince George’s County Department of Health and the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement confirmed that a bed bug infestation had been present in the Apartment before our clients moved in, and that the management company was fully aware of the bed bug infestation. Whitney, LLP also recovered thouands of pages of pest control records. After carefully reviewing the records, the records confirmed a massive and improperly treated bed bug infestation in the same Apartment and in the same building as our clients’ Apartment before they moved in.
The presence of a bed bug infestation in a different rental unit, although still in the same building, as our clients’ Apartment, is an important fact. It is commonly known by property management employees and pest control exterminators that bed bugs will travel from apartment to apartment in search of human bodies to feed on and bite. Once an infested apartment receives treatment, bed bugs often will spread to adjacent units, and beyond, where the presence of deadly chemicals cannot harm them. Without a proper inspection of all potentially infested units in the same building, the spread of the infestation goes unchecked, and results in additional tenants being subject to an infestation of bed bugs. It becomes only a matter of time until an improperly treated bed bug infestation spreads throughout an entire apartment building. When a bed bug infestation spreads due to a property management company or landlord’s negligence, all of the tenants who get bed bugs have potential legal bed bug claims to recover for injuries they suffer.
Pest Control Company Made the Bed Bug Infestation Worse
After our clients moved into the Apartment, they quickly began to see live bed bugs crawling out from cracks in the walls. Although they immediately reported the infestation to management, management dragged its feet in promptly scheduling treatment, effectively leaving our clients at the mercy of the bed bugs. Eventually, althought management did schedule bed bug treatments, the pest control exterminator consistently arrived at the Apartment later than scheduled, which caused problems for our clients, and required the treatments to constantly be rescheduled. Due to the pest control exterminator’s inability to arrive on schedule, the infestation in the Apartment persisted for four months. Once it became clear that the Apartment was never going to be exterminated properly, our clients made the decision to vacate, leaving behind thousands of dollars worth of furniture, clothes, children’s toys and other personal property.
Experienced Bed Bug Bite Lawsuit and Settlement Lawyers in Maryland
Our clients were all bitten by bed bugs while living in the bed bug infested Apartment. They also suffered from emotional distress and anxiety as the result of being deceived into leasing the infested Apartment and living with the infestation while it persisted in the Apartment. The parents suffered from additional feelings of helplessness as their children were being bitten and the repeated bed bug treatments did not eradicate the infestation in the Apartment. The parents constantly worried about spreading the infestation to their family and friends, and to any location outside of the Apartment. They curtailed many activities and visits, including their childrens’ activities, due to concerns over spreading the infestation. In sum, their experience was miserable and at times was a nightmare.
After filing the bed bug lawsuit, the bed bug attorneys at Whitney, LLP conducted extensive investigation and took depositions of the leasing agent, property manager and the pest control company. The records we recovered, in combination with the deposition testimony, painted a picture of a property management that routinely failed to make sure their apartments were clean, habitable and safe for incoming tenants. The records spoke for themselves and demonstrated the presence of the bed bug infestation before our clients moved in, and that no proper treatments had been performed. In the face of claims for negligence, violation of Maryland’s Consumer Protection Act, fraud and fraudulent concealment, our bed bug attorneys’ settled the case for $125,000. The settlement funds allowed our clients to replace the personal property and furniture they discarded, and enabled them to have enough money to have a down payment for a home they could purchase so that they would never have to deal with the experience of bed bugs in an apartment again.
When working to settle the bed bug claims brought by our clients, our negotiations included making the defense lawyer, and their insurance adjuster, aware of our expertise in handling bed bug claims and verdicts we previously recovered. While the attorneys at Whitney, LLP have settled hundreds of bed bug cases, those cases are often confidential. However, the verdicts are public information and provide an example of what a jury might find when presented with facts of people who have suffered from bed bug bites as the result of a property manager or landlord’s negligence.
Bed Bug Lawsuits and Settlements by Whitney, LLP’s Bed Bug Lawyers
The October 2, 2015 verdict in Lattissia Parker v. K.S.A. Investments, LLC is public record. In Parker, a Baltimore City jury awarded a total of $90,525 in damages to our clients, who were exposed to bed bugs for one night upon moving into a residential rental apartment and vacating the next day. Also, S. Belle v. Red Roof Inns, et al. is public record. In Belle, on September 15, 2015, a Prince George’s County jury awarded $100,000 to our client after she was bitten 31 times after spending the night in an infested hotel room. In that case, the hotel operator had knowledge of an infestation in the hotel room, but failed to follow the hotel’s treatment protocol before placing Ms. Belle in the same room. In 2013, we recovered an $800,000 judgment for our client, in Shabaan v. Barrett, et al. in Anne Arundel County, after her landlord failed to hire a pest control company to treat an ongoing infestation, and illegally evicted her. Of course, all prior results are not a guarantee of future outcomes, and all cases are different.
Whitney, LLP offers free initial case consultations to victims of bed bugs. To discuss your case confidentially in a free legal consultation, contact Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000 right away, or use our Quick Contact form and an attorney will be in touch soon to speak with you. We can handle cases across the United States depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.