Where Does Mold Occur?
Mold takes hold in damp places with poor ventilation, near leaks in roofs, doors, windows, pipes, or sweating HVAC systems. It grows in many common building materials, including in wood and wood products, dry wall, paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles, fabrics, carpets, and upholstery, as well as in insulation and on painted surfaces. When mold grows on building materials and behind walls, removal is often difficult and costly.
THE SCIENCE OF MOLD LITIGATION: A BATTLE OF THE EXPERTS
In the last few years, an increasing number of claims alleging personal injury and property damage resulting from mold infestation and exposure have been brought by property owners, employees, tenants, building occupants, and local governments. These claims have garnered significant publicity, resulted in surprising verdicts, and caused reactions by impacted industries. Despite the recent rash of mold-related litigation, the science regarding whether certain species of mold can cause significant and permanent health effects remains unclear.
THE KEY TO MOLD CONTROL IS MOISTURE CONTROL:
- Fix leaky plumbing and leaks from outside the building as soon as possible;
- Watch for condensation and wet spots;
- Reduce the moisture level in indoor air, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or use a dehumidifier (if outside air is warm and humid);
- Keep heating, air-conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed;
- Perform regular HVAC system inspection and maintenance (do not run HVAC system if you suspect that the HVAC system is contaminated with mold);
- Do not allow building foundations to remain wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation; and
- Remove and replace any flooded carpets.
Multi-Expert Mold Litigation (Prince William General District Court) – We were retained by the Landlord-Defendant to defend a complex mold-related Tenant Assertion by tenants asserting substantial economic harm and back rent. This case involved three mold experts and the proceeding lasted almost seven hours. Client-Landlord was awarded possession, and we successfully barred tenants from pursuing any damages against client.
Complex Mold Litigation (Arlington County Circuit Court) – We were retained by tenants in a condominium complex to sue the Landlord and property manager who failed to properly remediate toxic mold on the premises. As a result, the property had dangerous levels of toxic mold that caused severe allergic reactions to the tenants. Case settled favorably.
Defense of Mold Claims Related to Property Damage and Rent Abatement (Fairfax County General District Court). Successfully defended landlord who was sued for thousands of dollars in damages by tenants over alleged mold on the property claimed to have been caused by landlord’s negligent repairs. We countersued for damages and were able to have all of the tenants’ mold-related claims stricken at the conclusion of the Plaintiffs case. Further, the landlord was ruled to be the substantially prevailing party and was awarded recovery of attorney’s fees.
Constructive Eviction and Lead In The Water (Stafford County) – We represented the Landlord whose tenant has filed suit for back rent and damages after the discovery of lead in the water. We prevailed after resorting to some creative lawyering to block the other side from introducing key pieces of evidence. Client prevailed in an otherwise difficult case.
Tenant Constructive Eviction and Mold Lawsuit (Arlington General District Court) – Mold Litigation. We were retained by the tenants to recover damages form the landlord who failed to timely and property repair water leakage on the premises, which later causes the growth and proliferation of mold on the premises. We were able to obtain sufficient evidence of neglect on the part of the landlord to obtain a highly favorable settlement for our clients.