A civil jury has awarded Helen Herman what amounts to, with interest, just over $1 million dollars for damages suffered while living at 56 River Road Rear in Tewksbury four years ago.
"Although the verdict was awesome, we love it, it doesn't bring back my health," said Herman. Newscenter 5's Amalia Barreda first did a story in March 2005 on a mold problem in the house they were renting, which Herman claimed was making her sick. She said her landlords, area developers John Sullivan and his father, Kevin Sullivan, ignored her complaints. At the time, the couple's own mold home testing kit revealed alarming results. Molds appeared that could trigger debilitating ailments. Severe asthma is among the things that permanently disabled Herman, and forced her to leave her MBTA job of 20 years. "My doctor suggested I leave, and I was devastated," said Herman. Herman's husband said all of their possessions were contaminated. "We wound up throwing everything we owned in the trash," said Christian Langlois. The couple said their complaints to the Sullivans fell on deaf ears. Barreda reported that over the telephone their attorney told Newscenter 5 they were "disappointed in the jury verdict." Michael O'Reilly added, "we do intend to pursue fully our rights on appeal." But Herman's attorneys said the jury heard strong evidence that the Sullivans repeatedly ignored the mold problem, even after Herman and her husband moved out. "They just kept turning it over after slapping on a new coat of paint," said attorney Robert Doyle. The judge has taken a very important matter under advisement, and that is that under the Consumer Protection Act, the judge could double or even triple the jury's verdict.
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