January 31, 2009

Family gets $4.75M in mold sick house suit

A Virginia jury has awarded $4.75 million to a family suffering from a mold-infested sick house, the state's largest-ever mold award, observers said.

The Loudoun County, Va., panel found Friday that the home's builder, the Drees Co., was negligent and violated the state's consumer protection laws after the Meng family were afflicted by headaches, dizziness and nosebleeds, The Washington Post reported.

The company denied that shoddy construction led to the mold, contending it was not the mold made the family sick.

The Mengs testified that before moving into their new 5,900-square-foot house in a tony Chantilly, Va., subdivision in 2005, they had requested that Drees fix leaky windows in the basement. They said they had been assured the windows were fixed, but the basement still leaked.

The Post said the homeowners alleged they later learned the company had not allowed the house's frame to dry before installing drywall, thus creating the perfect conditions for mold to thrive all over the house.

Homeowner Wendy Meng said she was hospitalized seven times and experienced memory loss, heart palpitations and difficulty breathing, the Post reported.