EGH Attorneys Ed Gaskins and Katie King represented husband and wife homeowners who discovered toxic black mold in the HVAC systems of their custom design home.
The wife-homeowner began to experience ongoing symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, and cognitive dysfunction within three months of moving into the home. She embarked on a three-year journey to discovery the cause, including referrals to endocrinology, oncology, neurology, and cardiology.
Three years after moving into the home, a primary care physician began to suspect mold toxins and ordered mycotoxin testing. Lab results showed that the wife-homeowner’s levels of Ochratoxin A was well above the normal range. Ochratoxin A is the toxin produced by Aspergillus/Pennicillium mold. The new home was suspected to be the cause of mold exposure, since the wife-homeowner did not work outside the home. A home mold test confirmed high levels of multiple mold spores.
A commercial vent hood was installed in the kitchen during construction, which exhausted large volumes of air from the home. This caused negative air pressure in the home. The HVAC subcontract should have but failed to measure air pressure during or at the conclusion of construction and failed to install a make-up air system to bring the home into balance. The negative air pressure caused moist, unconditioned outdoor air to be drawn into the home, particular the HVAC air handling units. This resulted in condensation on cooler surfaces in the mixing boxes and distribution centers of the HVAC systems that promoted mold growth. Each time the HVAC system ran, it circulated mold spores throughout the home.
The homeowners and their children moved out of the home into a temporary residence for a year and a half, while the home was investigated, assessed, structurally modified, and then completely remediated.
A negligence claim was brought against the HVAC subcontractor and a subsequent HVAC maintenance company. A breach of contract claim was brought against the builder. All claims were resolved at or following mediation. The global settlement amount was $450,000.
Results were published in NC Lawyers Weekly and may be found here:
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