Jury awards $23 million in lawsuit against apartment complex

In a lawsuit filed 14 years ago, a Floyd County jury has awarded $23.5 million to a New Albany family for severe illnesses to two children caused by a pesticide that was sprayed in their apartments unit in the mid-1990s. The award came after following years of motions and delays. It is expected to be appealed. The attorney for the apartment did not return a call to his office. The plaintiffs and their children, a daughter, then 2 years old, and son, then 6 months old, moved into the apartment in February 1994. Soon, both children began to suffer seizures and other neurological problems. According to their attorney the children’s problems were caused by exposure to Creal-O, a chemical based on the pesticide Diazinon. The Environmental Protection Agency banned the pesticide from residential use in 2004. The attorney who filed the suit for the plaintiffs said the chemical was applied in the wrong way, even though it was legal for residential use at the time. “There was more applied than should have been applied, and it was applied in a careless manner,” he said. He said a “crack and crevice” application of the pesticide should have been made. Instead, he said, it was applied “on the baseboards, ran down onto the carpeting (and) splashed up on the wall coverings. That’s a misapplication.” The daughter now 20, is developmentally no more than a 2-year-old, her mother said during an interview. “She can feed herself, but that’s about it,” she said. “She can’t dress herself, undress herself, brush her teeth, brush her hair, shower herself–basically everything but feeding has to be done by somebody else.”
The son, now 17 and a student in the 11th grade, has athletic physical ability but is delayed academically and socially, his parents said. “He’s a big follower and really doesn’t know how to distrust anybody or doesn’t know how to judge somebody whether they’re good or bad,” said his father. The plaintiffs divorced during the years it took to bring the case to trial, and they now share the care of their children. “It’s been devastating,” the mother said of the effect on her and her ex-husband. “Our lives will never be the same.” She said their son and daughter “haven’t been the same since the first seizure.” Her daughter slept on a metal daybed when they moved into the apartment, her mother said, and it would start to squeak at night. “That would wake us up, the squeaking,” her mother said. “She would wake up moaning and she would convulse.” At the same time, their son was also showing symptoms, his parents said. Still, they said, it took months before doctors diagnosed the problem and experts traced it to the chemical. They moved out of the apartment in January 1995 before their lease ended. The Superior Court jury that heard the case, and, awarded $500,000 each to the parents and $16 million to their daughter and $6.5 million to their son. Projected future medical costs for the daughter are about $14 million,attorneys said. But they said it would likely be a long time before any money changes hands because of anticipated appeals. The apartments still operates under the same ownership as when the plaintiffs lived there, the couple’s lawyers said. “I just hope that this is a wake-up call for some people and that nobody ever should have to go through this,” the plaintiff said.
Iy you or a relative has been subjected to health hazards at your home caused by another persons’ negligence do not hesitate to contact me at my offices located in Rockville or Baltimore at 1-800-320-0080.