Read several articles about a home-mold legal case, in AZ, where the plaintiff was recently awarded $3.3 million. (SMH)
4:26 pm | 98° May 12, 2009 |
Valley & State
by Michael Kiefer - May. 2, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
A Maricopa County Superior Court jury has awarded $3.3 million to a Scottsdale woman who was sickened and permanently disabled by a mold infestation in her apartment building.
Robin Minium was a project manager for American Express and worked out of her upscale apartment near Scottsdale and Bell roads. She had lived there since 2000.
According to court documents, her health deteriorated significantly by 2002, and as she got sicker, she spent more time in her apartment.
The building was rife with several types of toxic molds, possibly as a result of pipes that were not properly connected and drained, according to her court pleadings.
She sued the apartment complex for failing to maintain the premises in a condition fit for human occupation.
Minium learned about the mold infestation from her neighbors, and her doctors told her that her illness was consistent with toxic mold exposure, so she left the apartment and moved into a hotel.
Then the apartment managers conducted tests, determined the extent of the infestation and performed remediation on the affected apartments.
Minium did not return, and she claimed that she was never able to recover personal belongings left in the apartment when she moved out, including family heirlooms. And she claimed her health was permanently impaired.
"She is disabled from any work and will be for the rest of her life," said her attorney, Andrea Watters.
Watters filed suit in Minium's behalf in August 2004 against the apartment complex, Pillar at Scottsdale LLC, and its parent company, Pillar Communities LLC.
Watters said that Minium, 47, suffered significant permanent hair loss and a neuro-cognitive disorder that does not affect her long-term memory but keeps her from performing basic day-to-day functions such as balancing a checkbook or remembering where she put her car keys.
Over the course of the trial, which began April 14, attorneys and experts for Pillar at Scottsdale argued that mold contamination could not have such lasting health effects.
But the jury sided with Minium, and on April 22 returned a verdict in her favor.
Kendall Steele, the attorney who represented Pillar, said, "We disagree with the result, and as far as I know, we will be strenuously challenging the verdict." The attorney who will be handling the appeal could not be reached Friday.
Readers should consider that anonymous commentary being made here that is critical of this verdict may be being submitted with intent of forwarding an agenda that is other than in the public interest. As the story states, the defense representation intends to challenge the verdict.
Extensive peer-reviewed medical studies exist supporting the conclusion that inhalent exposures to mold can cause serious, debilitating and permanent illness in humans. However, there is also documented evidence that questionable research conducted by entities with blatant conflicts of interest on this issue have been submitted in Arizona courts of law. This has been brought to the attention of the Arizona state electorate on numerous occasions, with no response from lawmakers.
It is encouraging that this verdict has been reached, but as far as justice is concerned, there needs to be a marshalling of political will on this issue to more broadly protect the people of the United States. Mold represents a serious threat to the health, safety and security of the people of this country -- something former Arizona governor Janet Napolitano is now charged with protecting.
Jonathan Lee Wright
Fungal Disease Resource Center, Inc.
Associated Press - May 2, 2009 12:54 PM ET
PHOENIX (AP) - A Scottsdale woman has been awarded $3.3 million in a suit she brought after mold in her apartment building made her sick.
Robin Minium claimed the mold left her permanently disabled. She moved to the upscale apartment complex called Pillar at Scottsdale in 2000 and within two years was ill. After learning from neighbors about the mold, the 47-year-old moved out and the owners fixed the mold problem.
Pillar attorney Kendall Steele said Friday the company strongly disagrees with the jury's decision and will appear the verdict.
Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.