$135,000 Baltimore Bed Bug Lawsuit Settlement
In February 2021, a Baltimore landlord paid $135,000 to settle a bed bug lawsuit after the landlord leased a bed bug infested apartment to a young couple. The couple was represented by the law firm of Whitney, LLP in Towson, MD.
The facts of the case that led to the $135,000 settlement are discussed below.
Tenants who are leased infested apartments and whose landlords do not quickly treat for bed bugs can sue their landlords and recover compensation. Whitney, LLP’s Baltimore bed bug lawyers help tenants sue and recover compensation.
Tenants Can Sue and Recover Compensation for Bed Bugs
Whitney, LLP’s attorneys for bed bugs specialize in bed bug cases. We represent tenants across Maryland including in Baltimore City in bed bug infestation cases and have recovered over $13,000,000 for our clients in bed bug cases. Consultations are always free.
- Click here for more of Whitney, LLP’s prior bed bug settlements and verdicts;
- Click here to read more of Whitney, LLP’s blogs about bed bug legal issues.
If you were moved into an infested apartment, you should know that you have legal rights and can fight back against your landlord.
Compensation for bed bug bites can be recovered for bites, itching, scarring and disfigurement, emotional distress, medical bills, property damage.
What Is Your Case Worth? We offer Legal Consultations and our Clients in bed bug cases pay no out of pocket fees or expenses. Call us at 410 583 8000, or use our Quick Contact Form, to discuss your potential case. Here is our YouTube Channel for videos on bed bug infestations.
Bed Bug Lawsuit Filed in Baltimore – $135,000 Settlement
On September 9, 2019, Our Clients, a young couple, entered into a Lease Agreement for an apartment in the 1700 Block of Pratt Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21231 (the “Apartment”) at the Premises. Prior to signing the Lease, Our Clients were not notified of an ongoing pre-existing bed bug infestation in the Apartment or in adjacent units.
Our Clients depended on the Landlord and Owner to exercise reasonable care to provide, at the inception of the tenancy, a clean and safe apartment that was free of bed bug infestation. However,
Despite the Landlord and Owner’s knowledge of an ongoing and untreated bed bug infestation in the Apartment, they leased Our Clients the infested Apartment anyway.
Baltimore Landlord Did Not Disclose the Bed Bug Infestation
The Landlord and Owner already knew through complaints by prior tenants that a bed bug infestation was present at the Apartment and in rental units in the same building as the Apartment, prior to and during Our Clients’ tenancy
From prior complaints and reports of bed bug infestation, the Landlord and Owner were aware that their tenants fear and detest bed bugs, and that the presence of bed bugs is extremely disruptive to the daily lives of tenants. The Landlord and Owner knew that no prospective tenant would knowingly lease a bed bug infested apartment.
A proper inspection of the Apartment, performed prior to leasing or move-in, by a well-trained, experienced and competent individual, such as a licensed pest management professional performing a thorough inspection, would most likely have confirmed signs of the existing bed bug infestation.
Finding Bed Bugs After Moving Into the New Apartment
On or about September 9, 2019, Our Clients moved into the Apartment. Any person who is moved into and sleeps in an apartment with an active bed bug infestation is certain to be bitten by bed bugs.
Once Our Clients began sleeping in the Apartment, the resident bed bugs detected their presence, emerged from hiding, and began to bite and feed on them while they slept.
Several weeks later, Our Clients began to experience itchy swollen skin lesions. The first swollen lesions were concerning, as one was the size of a quarter, while the other was the size of a silver dollar.
When they notified the Landlord of her bites, he merely replied,” Oh, that’s weird.”
As time went on, Our Clients started getting more and more bites, but noticed no signs of bed bugs.
Medical Treatment for Itchy Bed Bug Bites
On December 5, 2019, Our Clients were medically evaluated at St. Agnes Hospital for itchy inflamed skin lesions and diagnosed with cellulitis, a dangerous and potentially deadly skin infection if not promptly treated.
The hospital caregiver suspected bed bugs and told her where and what to look for. After that, Our Clients found bed bugs in the Apartment.
On or about December 7, 2019, Our Clients found a bed bug in the Apartment and informed the Landlord.
Negligent Landlords and Ineffective Bed Bug Treatments
In response to Our Client reporting bed bugs, the Landlord personally performed a pesticide spray treatment, which was ineffective.
The Landlord and Owner then hired a pest control company which inspected the Apartment and the adjacent apartments above and below, and confirmed the existence of a bed bug infestation throughout the Premises.
The pest control company performed three pesticide treatments at the Premises on December 27, 2019, January 3, 2020 and January 10, 2020; yet the bed bugs were not exterminated and Our Clients continued to receive bed bug bites.
Tenants Worry About Spreading Bed Bugs
Landlords know that tenants who live in a bed bug infested apartment risk spreading the infestation into their places of employment and throughout the community via bed bugs which have secretly crawled into or upon their personal belongings, clothing and shoes where they hide and lay eggs.
Our Clients constantly worried about spreading the infestation from the Apartment to their work, transportation and everywhere else they went.
Because of the infestation, they limited their movement and social interactions in order to prevent the potential spread of the bed bug infestation.
The actual or potential spread of bed bugs is a source of great anxiety to tenants subjected to infestation in an apartment.
Negligent Landlords Use Ineffective Self-Help Bed Bug Treatments
Before, during, and after the company’s course of treatment to the Premises, the Landlord, despite not being a licensed or certified pest control professional, performed several pesticide treatments which did not exterminate the bed bugs within the Apartment.
A landlord’s self-help measures in spraying pesticides in an attempt to kill bed bugs is a breach of the standard of care owed by landlords to their tenants. Such efforts are known to be ineffective and often worsen the problem, and actually disperse the bed bugs to new locations.
Given the ability of bed bugs to spread via clothing, shoes and personal belongings, Our Clients became increasingly concerned and stressed that, despite their precautions, they posed a risk of spreading bed bugs where ever they went.
Tenants Asked To Be Human Guinea Pigs by Landlord
After the Landlord personally sprayed the pesticides he asked Our Clients to remain in the Apartment as human guinea pigs, so he could determine if his spraying had killed the bed bugs.
Our Clients refused this request and terminated their lease due to the continuing bed bug infestation, and left the Apartment on February 28, 2020.
Injuries from the Bed Bug Infested Apartment
During the infestation in the infested Apartment, Our Clients were bitten dozens of times and experienced intensely itchy bed bug bites, including infected bites, and their personal property was contaminated by bed bugs, bed bug eggs and bed bug feces.
Our Clients suffered bodily injury, emotional distress, sleeplessness and anxiety as the Apartment remained infested due to the Landlord and Owner’s failure to promptly and properly treat the infestation therein
$135,000 Compensation Paid in Bed Bug Lawsuit Settlement
After Our Client realized the had been moved into the infested apartment, they searched for a bed bug lawyer for compensation. They found Whitney, LLP’s bed bug lawyers in Baltimore on Google, read our reviews, and called us.
After reviewing their lease, photographs and a Legal Consultation, we accepted the case.
Our lawyers for bed bugs filed the lawsuit in Baltimore City. As part of the litigation process, we obtained the Landlord’s pest control records and contacted the prior tenants.
We discovered from the prior tenants that the landlord had known about the infestation, yet did not properly treat it, and just kept moving tenants in.
Based on the Landlord knowingly moving new tenants into the apartment he knew was infested, and based on the injuries suffered by Our Clients, they were entitled to significant compensation.
After negotiations with the Landlord’s attorney and insurance company, the case settled for $135,000.
Baltimore’s Bed Bug Infestation Problem
Currently, Baltimore is the second worst city for bed bugs, according to Orkin. The good news is, Whitney, LLP’s lawyers can help tenants in Baltimore recover compensation for bed bug infestations.
Prior to leasing the Apartment to Our Clients, the Landlord and Owner knew that, for over ten years, bed bugs have been an increasing problem in Baltimore City residential apartments, and that bed bugs present a serious health hazard.
The Landlord and Owner knew or should have known that the Apartment and/or adjacent units had a longstanding problem with bed bug infestation.
Information About Bed Bugs
Bed bugs spend most of the time hidden in their harborage areas. Bed bugs emerge from their hiding places, questing a blood meal, and feed at night when persons are asleep.
Between feedings, bed bugs usually hide and deposit their eggs in tight, dark, concealed spaces such as inside box springs and bed frames, behind headboards and baseboards, under the edges of carpets (e.g., on or adjacent to tack strips), on curtains, in cracks and crevices in walls or floorboards, inside and behind furniture, inside electrical outlets and/or light switches, inside wall cavities, utility penetrations and utility chases
It takes about one to two weeks for bed bug eggs to hatch. Although bed bug eggs and newly hatched bed bug nymphs are difficult to visualize, adult bed bugs are easy to see with the naked eye when in the open, but difficult to find, without training, while hiding.
Bed Bugs Can Spread Through Walls
Bed bugs rapidly breed, and that the presence of one live bed bug signals an infestation.
Read our Blog and Watch our Video on: Can Bed Bugs Spread Through Walls?
Once introduced, bed bugs are known to steadily spread from room-to-room and floor-to-floor within a dwelling and between rental units in a multi-unit apartment building.
Landlords know that the detection of bed bugs in a rental unit requires prompt inspection of adjacent units and prompt professional treatment of all areas with evidence of infestation.
Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. They can travel from place-to-place with ease.
Hiding Signs of Bed Bug Infestation From Tenants
Certain tell-tale signs of bed bug infestation, such as live or dead bugs, shed skins, and fecal stains on walls, are easily removed during the normal rental turnover process, which traditionally includes painting of the walls and cleaning/vacuuming of the carpets/floors.
These actions remove or cover potentially obvious and visible evidence that might otherwise reveal the existence of an infestation, leaving only concealed evidence such as behind baseboards, under carpet and inside electrical boxes or walls.
To find evidence of infestation in such locations requires an adequate knowledge of what to look for, combined with the use of suitable tools with which to conduct an adequate bed bug inspection. Such tools would include a pry bar, pliers, screwdriver, flashlight and a ladder.
Bed Bugs Are a Hidden Hazard to New Tenants
To unsuspecting new tenants who rent a bed bug infested apartment, entrenched bed bugs are a hidden hazard.
It is highly unlikely that concealed evidence of a bed bug infestation, such as fecal stains, shed skins, carcasses, eggs, nymphs or live adult bugs hiding in concealed spaces inside the walls, under the carpet or behind the baseboards, will be discovered during a walk-through by an incoming tenant who is not suitably trained in proper bed bug inspection techniques.
The invasive nature of the inspection required – prying baseboards, pulling back carpet, unscrewing electrical switch and outlet plates and other such areas – is something that a person untrained in bed bug identification and inspection will typically and commonly not know about nor be aware of how to conduct such inspection.
Moreover, such an invasive inspection typically is not permitted by landlords of residential apartments.
Unsuspecting tenants therefore very often do not discover the hidden bed bug infestation until it is too late and they have moved in, begun to be bitten, and find the actual bed bugs.
Whitney, LLP’s Lawyers for Bed Bugs
What Is Your Case Worth? We offer Legal Consultations and our Clients in bed bug cases pay no out of pocket fees or expenses. Call us at 410 583 8000, or use our Quick Contact Form, to discuss your potential case.
The law firm of Whitney, LLP represents tenants in bed bug cases across Maryland, including in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Frederick County. Many tenants call our lawyers for bed bugs for legal representation against landlords in Pasadena, Cockeysville, Owings Mills, Temple Hills, Marlow Heights, Germantown, Silver Spring, Frederick, Waldorf, Glen Burnie, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Ellicott City and Salisbury.