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Children injured by toxic mold can recover against neighboring condominium owner

Mario Genna and his family sued the contiguous condominium owner after her unit was left unoccupied for several months and became contaminated by mold.  She had developed a serious plumbing leak that went undiscovered.  Several of the molds identified when the condition was finally discovered were known to cause significant health problems with constant exposure.

The Genna family suffered severe respiratory and digestive problems and ultimately had to leave their home before the children's health improved.  When the problem with the neighboring condominium was revealed, they sued the neighbor for damages and recovered a verdict of more than $300,000.00.  The neighbor's insurer appealed, arguing that the family did not present adequate expert testimony linking the children's health problems to the mold exposure.

The Court of Appeals dismissed the insurer's claims, noting that the case was "not complicated" even though no expert directly testified that a particular type of mold from the neighbor's apartment caused the children's health problems.  The children were in good health initially; they lived in a structure rendered uninhabitable by molds known to be toxic; they developed medical conditions commonly associated with toxic mold exposure and improved gradually after leaving the polluted environment:  the family did not need to present expert testimony to further document their claims.

The Court also rejected the insurer's argument that Mr. Genna was not qualified to put an economic value on the personal property in her apartment.  He bought it; he knew what was hauled to the dump.  He was qualified to place a cumulative value on it.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262