Remember the elderly and disabled tenants of the two bed bug-infested Des Moines, Iowa low-income buildings, Elsie Mason Manor and Ligutti Towers?
We last mentioned this case in March 2010, when the residents filed a class action lawsuit.
At the time, the tenants had already had bed bugs for more than two years.
Now, the judge has finally certified the class and the lawsuit will be proceeding as a class action.
Lawyers for roughly 300 current and former residents of the low-income apartment buildings first filed the lawsuit in March 2010 seeking money for back rent, lost property and other hardships because of a bedbug problem stretching back to late 2007.
Residents at the time complained that they’d been repeatedly bitten, forced to discard infested furniture and shunned both by relatives and other landlords now too afraid to rent to them. While some residents are believed to have escaped with only emotional damage and laundry bills, others suffered repeated property losses and medical costs.
“Everybody sleeps on the floor,” Elsie Mason resident Robert Hobbs said in an interview last year describing infested furniture. “You have to.”
The class includes hundreds of people.
The Des Moines Register suggests that the lawsuit alleges the buildings’ managers “turned a blind eye to a growing bedbug infestation for more than two years.”
The good news is that residents of the building have not had to continue living with bed bugs since 2010.
Court papers say the bedbugs eventually were brought under control after building officials last year hired a new exterminating company that treated both facilities with 120-degree heat.
Let’s hope managers, staff and residents were also educated about how to avoid the reintroduction of bed bugs.