In a quest for the next lucrative toxic tort, the plaintiff's bar has focused attention on indoor air quality and in particular the effect of mold on the indoor environment and on human health. Plaintiffs claim that they have contracted diseases, suffered bodily injuries, or sustained property damage resulting from exposure to mold. They seek compensation from numerous defendants involved in the ownership, management, maintenance, construction, sale, rent, repair, or inspection of property, including contractors, architects, installers, plumbers, insulators and property managers. Typical lawsuits allege faulty design and workmanship, inadequate maintenance, and the failure to discover or disclose property defects allowing moisture to enter and collect on susceptible indoor surfaces such as wood, cardboard, carpeting, insulation, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, vinyl, linoleum, and drywall and window coverings. Plaintiffs also target manufacturers of building components, heating and ventilation systems, and environmental barriers, alleging that the equipment or manufacturing process contributed to the release or creation of mold spores in the indoor environment. Manufacturers also are faulted for providing inadequate warnings about the risk of mold.
The litigation continues to expand, encouraged by recent multi-million dollar verdicts. There is a seemingly unlimited potential for claims since they involve a commonly-encountered phenomenon, namely water seepage or retained moisture. The trend toward air-tight buildings provides ideal opportunity for moisture entrapment, and hence mold growth. The claims also are driven by the vast number of as-yet solvent defendants and the disagreement in the medical community about the toxicity of mold and appropriate threshold exposure limits.
Segal McCambridge attorneys possess the necessary experience to take on the complex, interrelated issues in this emerging area, including design and construction details, maintenance protocols, product specifications and conditions, and medical causation.