Mold is found just about anywhere there is moisture, a lack of ventilation, and the right temperature. Fruit that isn’t eaten in time often develops nasty (but harmless) mold as it expires, for instance. But some molds can cause serious health problems once they get a foothold into your home or workplace, particularly that which is known as “black mold.” The presence of toxic mold often suggests an underlying construction defect or some other problem caused by a third party, and thus often leads to litigation.
Toxic mold lawsuits are particularly complicated, as they often involve multiple causes of action, can implicate a wide range of potential defendants, and require specific medical and scientific expertise. Most toxic mold lawsuits against building owners and landlords are settled before trial, but those filed against homeowner’s insurance providers typically are resolved at trial.
This article focuses on mold lawsuit settlements, including some examples.
Toxic Mold Lawsuits: Overview
Toxic mold has been known to cause a number of severe injuries and health conditions, including respiratory problems, flu-like symptoms, headaches, and skin irritation. A few different types of mold have been labeled toxic, most notably Stachybotrys atra. Removal of mold typically requires the destruction of all infected materials, such as sheet rock, floorboards, and furniture.
While the conditions that allow mold to grow and thrive are well-known, it’s not so easy determining the proximate cause of toxic mold in a building. For instance, it could be the result of construction defects, faulty materials, poor architectural design, or the previous owner’s failure to disclose known problems. Homeowners insurance companies sometimes are targeted with breach of contract suits for failing to cover toxic mold claims. If it’s a rental, the landlord may be held liable if it’s determined they knew or should have known about the problem.
The most common theories of liability for toxic mold injuries include negligence, breach of warranty, and failure to disclose. Damages often include medical costs, related losses (such as time off work to recover from injury), and the cost of cleanup and structural restoration.