Toxic mold cases began to make waves in the 90’s and early 2000s, long after mold exposure was declared a health hazard. Various individuals and families sought legal reprise after suffering adverse health effects and began winning millions. Toxic mold continues to be an issue in many older buildings, homes, and construction sites, which is why managers are often advised to be vigilant and immediately hire professional mold remediation services.
These cases prove that ignoring mold can be far more expensive than testing and removal. Here are the largest settlements from toxic mold cases in the US.
1. Mazza Family in California Receives $2.7 Million – 2001
One of the biggest toxic mold cases to hit was the Mazza family’s in 2002. The family was renting a unit in a building complex from management company Partridge Point Apartments: Raymond Schurtz and Janak Mehtani, and Westcal Management. In 1997, the couple complained of a water intrusion in the main bathroom. The problem was not taken care of, despite several complaints. The couple began experiencing health problems. When they checked, the premises contained toxic mold spores. They sued the management and their insurance company and the jury awarded the family $2.7 million.
2. Ballard Family in Texas Receives $4 Million (After Appeal) – 2001
The Ballards became famous when their case went through, as originally, the court awarded the family $32 million. After an appeal, they received $4 million, with some other settlements and financial compensation from Farmers Insurance. Melinda Ballard raised concerns about mold after her child suddenly developed a respiratory illness, her husband developed Alzheimers, and she began coughing up blood. Their case started with a small claim for water damage and turned into a huge mold catastrophe when they discovered mold all over the house. This was one of the first cases to bring public attention to toxic mold issues. Melinda Ballard became an activist after the case and founded a consumer advocacy group.
3. Ed McMahon Wins $7.2 Million in California Toxic Mold Case – 2003
Even the rich and famous have to deal with toxic mold, as it can end up anywhere —even in expensive, Beverly Hills houses. The McMahons sued American Equity Insurance Co. for breach of contract, negligence, and intentional emotional distress. In their claim, the McMahons said that a contracting job where workers failed to properly clean up water damage from a pipe caused mold to spread throughout their entire house. Then 80-year-old McMahon was ordered to leave the house after developing a respiratory illness. The couple says toxic mold killed their sheepdog, after it too had begun showing signs of respiratory distress.
4. Gorman Family Win $22.6 Million in Settlement in California – 2005
This was an interesting case, because the Gorman family and 16 other defendants sued Crenshaw Lumber Co. after their child suffered serious brain damage due to mold. The mold spread after the construction company provided wood and brackets for a furniture item that were stored improperly. The brackets had toxic mold.
5. Jividen Family of South Florida Wins $48 Million – 2021
One of the largest settlements ever, Lynette Jividen sued her building owner and management company after becoming ill due to toxic mold. A water leak from the roof caused mold to grow throughout the condominium. She complained to management but the leaks were never fixed and the mold was not remediated. She was forced to move out due to deteriorating conditions and was awarded the money after a judge decided in her favor.
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