Daniel W. Whitney named as Preeminent Bed Bug Lawyer
Daniel W. Whitney, managing partner of Whitney, LLP, was recently named by the Atlas Obscura as the country’s preeminent bed bug lawyer. The article, available here at https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/interviewing-the-countrys-preeminent-bed-bug-lawyer/ , provides a concise history of how Mr. Whitney became involved in bed bug litigation.
Whitney, LLP represents individuals who have been injured in a variety of cases – in personal injury matters involving motor vehicles or premises liability, people injured by clinical laboratory malpractice by companies such as Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics, consumer protection cases where individuals are cheated when purchasing consumer goods such as vehicles, individuals injured by bed bug claims, and people whose homes have been damaged by termites. This blog post will summarize the three main types of bed bug claims, and provide insight on important components of each type of claim.
Generally speaking, there are three main types of bed bugs cases: hotel cases, apartment cases, and furniture cases. Having litigated hundreds of bed bug claims, there is a common thread that links them all – business that fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their customers. While almost all businesses that routinely encounter bed bugs have a Bed Bug Protocol, or other procedure in place for how to deal with a report of bed bugs, there are numerous businesses that fail to implement and follow their procedures closely. When employees fail to follow procedures, even the best procedures will not protect guests and customers from being bitten.
In a situation involving bed bugs at a hotel, unsuspecting guests often awake in the morning feeling an itchy sensation, and may find small bed bugs crawling in their sheets, on them, or on the mattress. In a hotel situation, it is extremely important to take the following steps to preserve the evidence in the hotel room: Photograph and video the bugs in the room, photograph and video the bites that are visible on yourself, call the front desk to report the infestation and to have an employee report to the room, and call the local health department to make a report. When taking photographs and video, it is best to get the hotel room number in the photo or video. While this may seem like an unnecessary step to take, this can prevent unreasonable claim denials later on. From investigating the claims of hundreds of potential clients, we have found that it is not an uncommon occurrence for a hotel to deny the presence of bed bugs in a room once the guest has left. Taking the steps above will help to protect and preserve your claim.
Bed bug cases occurring in residential apartments similarly involve a failure to follow procedures, but often include another element – deception. It is commonly accepted that a potential tenant would want to know of a history of bed bug infestation in an apartment they were thinking about renting, or an infestation in an adjacent apartment. However, there is not one property management company that we have interacted with that has a policy of disclosing that information to a potential tenant. Many of our clients are shocked when, after we begin to investigate their claim, we speak with the prior tenant in an apartment and discover that the prior tenant also complained of bed bugs. In cases where prior tenants have complained of bed bugs, lawsuits often include claims for fraud, fraudulent concealment and violation of Consumer Protection laws.
Bed bugs often hide in furniture, making bed bug claims against furniture companies the third main practice area of bed bug litigation. Rent-to-own furniture companies and mattress companies have sold, rented and delivered bed bug infested furniture to customers. The effect on the customer is terrible – their home becomes infested, and often times, the furniture or mattress company ignores the customer’s complaints or requires the customer to sign a waiver before treatment. The waiver usually states that the customer agrees to not file a lawsuit against the company in exchange for the company hiring a pest control company to treat the infestation. In bed bug furniture and mattress cases, it is important to immediately take photograph and videotape evidence of the bed bugs on the furniture or mattress, and to report the infestation to the company a soon as possible.
Whitney, LLP has recovered millions of dollars for its clients who have been injured by bed bugs. All consultations are free, and in injury cases we are paid only when we recover for our clients. Contact us for a legal consultation now using our website Quick Contact Form, or call us at 410 583 8000.