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Mould litigation – facts & information in Sydney

Liability and mould

Below is a selection of past court cases in the US involving damages due to mould. As the sampling of cases demonstrates, mould-related lawsuits target many different types of defendants, including contractors, subcontractors, construction managers, property managers, architects, construction component suppliers, building owners and insurers. Damages may include the cost of mould remediation, loss of property and health-related claims.


The following selection of current and past litigation relating to mould damage is based on third-party sources, including websites and news media. The descriptions have not been verified by an independent examination of court records and this information is provided ‘as is’ without warranty of any kind.

Court cases involving mould damages

  • Jenses v. AMGEN Inc.

    The plaintiff filed the lawsuit against his employer in October 2000. He alleged that exposure to mould in one of the company’s buildings had caused a variety of ailments. The plaintiff is seeking $2 million.

  • J.J. Acquisition Corp. v. Pacific Gulf Properties

    Employees of a California newspaper filed suit in September 2000 against the owner of their building. They are seeking $10 million for illnesses resulting from exposure to several types of toxic mould.

  • Spectrum Community Association v. Bristol House Partnership

    The Spectrum Homeowners Association sued the developers and contractors in June 2000, alleging that construction defects caused the growth of toxic mould in walls and ceilings of the housing units. The homeowners claim that exposure to mould resulted in a variety of adverse health effects.

  • Fickett v. Davis Management Corp

    The plaintiff sued the owner of an apartment complex where she had previously lived, alleging that she suffered injuries and her husband died as a result of exposure to toxic mould and bacteria. The lawsuit was filed in February 2000.

  • McCullogh v. USC Real Estate Development Corp.

    The plaintiffs are a California condominium association suing the developers, contractors and property manager for construction defects that they allege were responsible for toxic mould that caused personal injuries and property damage. The lawsuit was filed in November 1999.

  • Andrejevic et al. v. Board of Education of Wheaton-Warrenville School District No. 200, DuPage County, IL

    This class-action suit was filed by approximately 1700 students, parents and teachers. The plaintiffs are seeking $67 million for injuries caused by exposure to toxic mould and other indoor pollutants following a flood at the elementary school. The lawsuit, filed in July 1999, claims that the school district did not properly remediate flood damage, resulting in growth of the mould.

  • MacDonald v. Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

    The plaintiffs in this proposed class-action lawsuit include students exposed to mould at various schools between September 1995 and June 1999 and their parents. The lawsuit alleges that the children’s exposure to toxic moulds resulted in a variety of ailments. The plaintiffs are seeking $1 billion in general damages, $500 million in special damages and costs, and an additional $500 million in damages to the parents.

  • Erin Brockovich v. Robert Selleck

    According to a story in the Sacramento Bee dated 3/8/01, Erin Brockovich filed a personal injury/construction defect complaint against the former owner (Robert Selleck) and the builder, alleging that each had a role in causing water intrusion that led to the growth of mould. Brockovich alleges that she and members of her family have suffered adverse health effects from exposure to the mould.

  • Reber v. ServiceMaster

    A story published by the Indianapolis Star on 8/12/01 says that Dennis and Debbie Reber recently filed a lawsuit alleging that ServiceMaster did a poor job removing moisture from the 4,600-square-foot home, causing mould to grow throughout the house. According to the Indianapolis Star report, attempts to clear the mould have already cost $43,000, and current estimates predict cost of removal to be $100,000. The article says that Allstate, the Rebers’ insurer, will only partially cover the cost of remediation efforts.

  • Melinda Ballard v. Farmers Insurance Group

    State court in Austin, Texas awarded Melinda Ballard and her family $32.1 million in June 2001. The $32.1 million award represents $6.2 million for replacement of the home and contents, $5 million for mental anguish, $12 million in punitive damages and $8.9 million for legal fees. It has been reported that Ms. Ballard intends to pursue further legal action against Farmers for health-related claims.

  • Thomas Anderson v. Allstate Insurance Company

    On October 3, 2000, a California jury ordered Allstate Insurance to pay a policyholder $18.5 million in a coverage dispute over mould in the plaintiff’s home in Placerville, California. The award included $500,000 in damages and $18 million in punitive damages. The trial judge reduced the award to $3 million. The case is being appealed.

  • Marina Eddy, et al. v. C.B. Richard Ellis Inc., Henry Knott, AMG Realty Partners LP, Kronos Property Holdings N.V. and Maritime Reality Corp.

    Three plaintiffs filed a suit claiming personal injuries stemming from exposure to mould and fungi in their workplace, an office building in Maryland. Injuries claimed include asthma and reactive airways disorder. The suit alleges that mould and fungi “were allowed to flourish” in the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The complaint was filed in the Baltimore County Circuit Court in Maryland.

  • Dean H.M. Chenensky, et al. v. Glenwood Management Corp., et al.

    No. 120461/00, N.Y. Sup., N.Y. Co. The plaintiffs seek approximately $180 million for injuries and personal property damage caused by their exposure to mould while living in the apartment owned by Glenwood Management Corp. and operated by East 77th Realty LLC. The plaintiff maintains that the defendants knew of the mould but failed to remediate it and did not notify the tenant of the condition.

  • Robert E. Coiro, et al. v. Dormitory Authority of the State of New York

    The plaintiffs sought punitive and exemplary damages in the sum of $50 million, as well as an additional $5 million for services lost. Coiro alleged that he suffered from personal injuries and pain and suffering as a result of employment with LaGuardia Community College at the premises owned by Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. The complaint, filed in Queens County Supreme Court, maintained that toxic mould and fungus, water leaks, unsafe and unsanitary conditions, improper ventilation and other dangerous conditions in the building created “an unsafe, contaminated and dangerous environment, all to the plaintiff’s detriment and loss.”

  • Charles Blum, et al. v. Chubb Custom Insurance Co., et al.

    No. 99-3563-E, Texas Dist., Nueces Co. Texas homeowners Charles and Leigh Blum sued Chubb Custom Insurance Co., Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, and Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, claiming that the insurer(s) denied, delayed or failed to pay or properly investigate claims stemming from accidental plumbing leaks and roof damage. The case went to trial, and after 2-1/2 weeks the case was settled for $1.5 million on December 18, 2000.

  • Centex-Rooney Construction Co., Inc. v. Martin County, Florida

    In an earlier lawsuit, Martin County sued its construction manager for dampness that promoted mould growth and excessive humidity in a courthouse. Fifteen employees in the building alleged injuries caused by exposure to the mould. The source of the water problem was the exterior insulation finish system (EIFS). On an appeal, the appeals court affirmed the $14 million verdict against the construction manager. Martin County also secured out-of-court settlements worth $3 million from other defendants.

  • Saddler v. County of Tulare

    Approximately 100 employees at a Visalia County, California courthouse filed a lawsuit against multiple defendants, alleging that the workers experienced adverse health effects from exposure to toxic mould in the building. The suit says that various contractors negligently designed and built the courthouse and that the county did not properly maintain the building. Defendants include: the County of Tulare, Kitchell Capital Construction Management, Garcia Construction Inc., Bakersfield Glass Co., Superior Academy Granite Co., Fresno Marble and Tile, San Francisco Lathing Co., Pacific Electrical & Mechanical Co., E.H. Moore & Sons, Kitchell CEM, Beaver Construction, Forcum/Mackey Construction Inc., C.W. Forcum Construction Inc. and Turrupseed Electric Service Inc.

  • Elisabeth B. Krant v. County of Tulare, et al.

    No. 00-0190367, Calif. Super., Tulare Co. Claiming that she was exposed to mould, Superior Court Judge Elisabeth Krant sued the defendants for dangerous condition of public property against public employee, fraudulent concealment, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence by construction defendants and continuing nuisance.

  • Fulgham v. Merit Construction Co.

    A teacher at Woodward Middle School in Bainbridge Island School District, Washington, filed a suit against the general contractor, construction manager, and architect of the school building. The plaintiff maintains that construction defects resulted in toxic mould in the classroom and in other locations in the building, causing personal injuries. The defendants in the case subsequently filed suit against several subcontractors (Merit Construction Co. v. Dunham Glass Inc.).

  • Mielke v. Riverside School District

    Teachers and students at Riverside High School in Washington filed suit against the Riverside School District, the Riverside Superintendent of Schools, various contractors and the architect of a school addition. The suit alleges construction defects, faulty design of the ventilation system and faulty design of the windows led to toxic mould in the building and resulting adverse health effects. The plaintiffs also maintain that the school district violated civil rights by failing to “exercise reasonable care in insuring a safe school environment.” The defendants have countersued each other and have sued subcontractors as third-party defendants.

  • Foppe et al. v. Archstone Communities Inc.

    Two former tenants in a Seattle apartment building filed a suit against the building owner for substandard construction and maintenance resulting in toxic mould that caused chronic illnesses. The plaintiffs are also suing for property damage due to the mould.

  • Samaris S. Davis, et al. v. Henry Phipps Plaza South, et al.

    No. 116331/98, N.Y. Sup. N.Y. Co. In May 1999, about 495 plaintiffs sought approximately $8 billion for personal injury and property damage due to mould and fungi contamination in two apartment buildings in Manhattan. The defendants were the owners of the building. On August 8, 2001, a New York judge denied class certification for the case. Class certification was sought on the liability issues only. A wrongful death suit has also been filed against the owners in connection with one of three deaths that may be linked to the mould exposure.

  • Sharon R. Wheeler, et al. v. Avalonbay Communities, et al.

    No. BC 237274, Calif. Supr., Los Angeles Co. A group of apartment residents sued the building owners and others for negligence, negligence per se, breach of implied warranty of habitability, public nuisance, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and unfair business practices.

  • Susan Burke v. Board of Directors of the Pottsgrove School District, et al.

    No. 00-CV-6061, E.D. Pa. A school nurse asked to transfer to another school in the district after environmental tests revealed mould in the school building and her doctor’s determination that the plaintiff is allergic to mould. The request was refused. The plaintiff sued the school district, claiming violations of the Americans with Disability Act, her constitutional rights and the Whistleblower Law.

  • Molly K. Atwood, et al. v. City of Vancouver, Washington

    No. 012000253, Wash. Super., Clark Co. The plaintiff claims that her home sustained flood damage because of the negligent construction and maintenance of a city storm water detention facility. Further, she claimed that the city did not properly remediate the flood damage, resulting in mould growth that eventually caused her and her family to abandon the home.

  • New Haverford Partnership, et al. v. Elizabeth Stroot, et al.

    No. 95C-05-074-HLA, Del. Sup. In a previous lawsuit, Elizabeth Stroot and three other plaintiffs were awarded damages for medical expenses, permanent impairment, and pain and suffering associated to exposure to various mycotoxins, bacteria, fungi and other toxins while living in an apartment complex owned by New Haverford Partnership. In May 1999, a jury awarded $1 million in damages to Stroot and $40,000 to Joletta Watson. In addition, the jury awarded damages for expenditures made for substitute housing: $5,000 to Stroot, $1,500 to Angela McCarthy, and $3,700 to Lois Schlindler. In May 2001, the Delaware Supreme Court upheld the award to the residents.

  • Tarp v. E&W Associates, et al.

    Fresno County Superior Court Case No. 5965603 Plaintiffs alleged a loss of business and bodily injury due to growth of toxic moulds in a rental space leased from the defendants for an interior design business. The husband and wife plaintiffs claimed economic damages in excess of $1.8 million and general non-economic damages of an additional $3 million.

  • Berry v. Mission Terrace Homeowners Association

    Three families sued their homeowners association in 1998, alleging that exposure to toxic mould had caused a variety of ailments. The case was settled for $545,000.

  • Doe Homeowners v. Roe Seller

    New owners of a house in California sued the sellers in 1997, alleging that toxic mould caused bodily injuries and property damage. The case was settled for $1,353,000.

  • Komiyama v. City of Rialto

    The plaintiffs alleged injuries due to the growth of mould following an incident in which raw sewage backed up into their home. The alleged injuries included brain damage and respiratory infections. The suit was settled in 1997 for $600,818.

  • Club at Wood Ranch v. Roberts Group

    No. 21522 Ventura Co., Cal., Super. Ct. In this case, a homeowners group sued builders and contractors, alleging problems due to toxic mould. The group settled for $1.3 million.

  • O’Hara v. Stangland et al.

    A Eugene, Oregon family sued general contractor Jeff Stangland, contractor Harvey & Son and designer Michael Cockram for $3.5 million, alleging that faulty construction led to the growth of mould in their home and subsequent adverse health effects. Shortly before the start of the trial, Harvey & Son reached an undisclosed settlement with the O’Haras. Shortly after the beginning of the trial, the claim was dropped and a cash settlement agreed to. The O’Hara’s attorney said that the settlement would be paid by Stangland’s insurance company.

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