DEFENDING AGAINST MOLD-RELATED PERSONAL INJURY ACTIONS

Written by J. Jay Young and Corey A. Tavel | NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL, JUNE 12, 2002.

In the wake of the $32 million jury verdict rendered in Ballard v. Fire Insurance Exchange, numerous mold contamination claims, asserting both property damage and personal injury, have emerged throughout the country in both residential and commercial settings. New York has followed this trend and the explosive potential of these claims is portrayed in Chenensky v. Glenwood Management Corp., where a family has sued for $180 million for mold exposure arising from a water leak that management knew of for several years. Further, in Rivera v. Phipps Houses Services, plaintiffs filed a rent-abatement action with implicit claims of mold contamination and later settled for $1.8 million. Dozens of other mold claims have been filed under various guises and appear to be the genesis of an oncoming wave of new “toxic tort” litigation. These claims, however, can be defended by excluding scientific testimony, asserting statute of limitations and establishing alternative causation.

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