Bed bug lawsuits
Here are some legal cases involving bed bugs which are discussed online. (Links which are internal to the blog have additional links to news reports and sometimes case information.)
General lawsuits involving bed bugs
Article about bed bug lawsuits in New York City (Sept. 2008)
Bed bugs in the workplace
Former Fox News NY employee Jane Clark sues her employer’s landlord (May 2008). This case was thrown out by the judge in April 2011, with the plaintiff expected to appeal the dismissal.
New Furniture Purchase
An Ann Arundel County jury awards $225K to a woman who bought two wooden beds from a furniture retailer. Case is unusual both because it actually went to a jury trial and because the plaintiff was awarded $75K more than she sought in the trial (March 2012).
Cleveland law students sue Reserve Square landlord — see Tenants below (11/2008).
This Fordham student sued the provider of third-party student housing in the New Yorker Hotel because of alleged bed bugs. (09/2007)
In March 2010, Ronald Rock wins Sarasota County jury suit after sustaining about sixty bed bug bites during a 2005 stay in the Venice Holiday Inn in Venice, Florida. The jury finds the hotel was negligent and awards Rock money to cover his past medical expenses, lost clothing and missed work time.
Siloam Springs (bed bugs in motel caused nightmares) 2007
Barona Resort and Casino Robert and Gloria Chisley suing for bed bug bites at resort (2005, still pending as of 2008).
Mathias v. Accor Economy Lodging, Inc. and Motel 6 Operating L.P. (2003) – the landmark bed bug lawsuit. This 2012 article suggests it is one of the largest judgments of bed bug liability.
Faika Shabaan, a Maryland woman, sued her former landlord and was awarded $800K in compensatory damages for loss and suffering. The lawsuit argued that the landlord rented a unit which was known to have bed bugs, without disclosing this information, that he ignored other tenants’ complaints about bed bugs, and that he did not respond to the city’s code violation ordering him to hire a pest control operator to eliminate the problem, but instead self-treated using propane heaters (an attempt which failed to solve the problem). The landlord also shut off the tenant’s water in retaliation and evicted her in her absence, leading to a loss of property. The news media noted the plaintiff was awarded twice what she asked for, and more than twice what was awarded to the plaintiffs in Mathias v. Accor (2002), mentioned above. Read more here: “Maryland woman awarded $800K after landlord rented infested unit, refused to treat”. (5/2013)
Kristen Y. Saunders, a former tenant of Hunting Hills apartments in Baltimore, awarded $40K by Baltimore City Circuit Court. She claimed the owners/management responded too slowly (after 48 days), though management’s lawyers denied this. Saunders was represented by Daniel Whitney of Whitney and Bogris LLP (Towson, MD). You can read more here (10/2011).
Tenants in Jefferson City, Missouri awarded one month’s rent ($405) by Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District after landlord “did not do enough” to respond to tenants’ concerns about a bed bug problem. Note: this appears to be based entirely on the presence of suspected bed bug bites; the landlord treated once despite the absence of visual evidence found by the PCO. This complex case is explored here (12/2010).
Marilyn Mitchell, a Woodbridge, NJ tenant who had bed bugs in her unit in the Kensington Apartments sued her landlord for negligence. She lost her appeal: the “state appeals court supported a lower-court ruling in favor of Capitol Management Corp., saying Marilyn Mitchell did not prove that Capitol was negligent merely because of the presence of the bed bugs,” according to the Home News Tribune. More on Woodbridge in Jersey (6/2010).
Tenants of Ligutti Tower and Elsie Mason Manor in Des Moines, Iowa file class action lawsuit covering about 250 elderly and disabled tenants of the building who lived with bed bugs, cockroaches, or rodents from 2007 to the present (3/2010). Update: it looks like this case is finally going to trial (5/2013).
Portland State University student tenants sue private landlord (Park Plaza Apartments) (see College Students above) (01/2010).
Cleveland law student sues Reserve Square landlord after having bed bugs in two units (and gnats in a third) in one building (Nov. 2008).
Capricia Osirus of 23-25 Temple St. in Nashua, NH. (Aug. 2008)
Maya Rudolph’s case: press is here. 2007
Brooklyn tenant sues 2007
Peter H. Young (Ludlow Street, NYC)
This won’t ever be comprehensive, but there are obvious gaps, so feel free to post comments below with additional links I might add.
Can you help me find a lawyer?
No, sorry. We are not a legal service, we’re not lawyers, and we haven’t sued.
I suggest reading the articles linked above and consulting some of the lawyers mentioned in cases which are similar to yours or which are in your vicinity. Some lawyers may have begun leaving comments in the thread below this post. Although the blog comments are not normally appropriate for advertising, I will allow lawyers to leave messages below, since some readers do seem to have an interest in and a difficulty finding a lawyer willing to take a bed bug case.
This FAQ gives advice on how to find legal aid, though this may be more suited to people seeking assistance with housing court and similar proceedings.
You may also find this post about Christian Hardigree’s Note: the podcast of the discussion between Hardigree and Brad Harbison is here: (and this 5/29/2008 PCT Podcast of a discussion between Hardigree and Harbison) helpful.