In what some legal experts believe could be a precedent-setting case, a Maryland jury has awarded $800,000 to a Maryland woman who was the unhappy tenant of a bed bug-infested apartment. In her suit, the 69-year-old tenant claimed that the landlord knew about the bed bug infestation before she moved. According to the New York Daily News, the jury took just 45 minutes to decide against the property owner of the bed bug-infested apartment, awarding a previously unheard of sum in such cases to the tenant. The bulk of the award — $650,000 — was for punitive damages.
Jurors were moved by the hundreds of bed bug bites the tenant endured after moving into the Annapolis apartment in 2011. Her repeated complaints were ignored by the landlord who also ignored complaints from other tenants. Eventually evicted from her apartment, the woman lost “practically everything” when her possessions were stolen after being removed from the apartment by bailiffs.
With public sympathy increasing for bed bug victims, tenant lawsuits are expected to climb and the potential for large jury judgments to increase. Regular inspections and proper bed bug treatment by a recognized New York/New Jersey bed bug control expert may offer the best protection against expensive lawsuits for apartment, condominium, hotel, motel, report and other commercial property owners. Visit our website to find out about Stern’s expert commercial bed bug services.