The floodgates for mold-related personal injury lawsuits have been opened, and landlords are fortunate that opportunistic tenants remain unaware of the precedent set.
More than the numerous health hazards mold spores are responsible for, co-op and condominium boards in the country have breathed their last mold-free sigh of relief when a five-judge panel overturned a key appellate court decision in Manhattan.
It was supposed to block millions of dollars in legal claims for mold-induced health damages, but a split 3-2 decision weeks later revived the $11.8-million court case. The decision was made back in 2012, but the precedent Brenda Cornell has set by suing the owner of her tenement unit in Hell’s Kitchen remains as critical to this day.
Eva Talel, counsel to the division of the Real Estate Board of New York that represents residential building managers, warned against the decision providing opportunities for tenants to claim mold-related personal injury. “It is going to result in a heck of a lot more lawsuits being filed by people who have mold- and moisture-related conditions and suffer from health effects,” Bill Sothern, a certified industrial hygienist and occasional expert witness on mold damage, told the Wall Street Journal.
Cornell’s inability to link her conditions to mold dust wafted up from her building’s basement in 2003 proved inconsequential, since the decision was overturned despite the lack of scientific evidence. The panel cited how new literature was “indicative of a causal relationship”, but Springfield, IL personal injury attorneys comment that the split decision remains a sign of the argument’s shakiness.
Mold is a common and harmful problem in many residential buildings across the country. Exposure to mold spores has been linked to asthma, coughing, and wheezing, posing a serious health risk to infants and individuals with weak respiratory systems.
Mold-related personal injury claims are now winnable and more financially enticing than ever, which provides a greater reason for landlords to take care of their property.