$235,000 Settlement for Environmental Exposure / Aspergilis

Blume Donnelly partner Mitchell J. Makowicz, Jr. represented a woman who was a resident at an apartment complex in a small town near the Jersey shore. The town was situated between the ocean and the bay, and the complex itself was built on low-lying land. Over the years since its construction, representatives of the complex conceded they had ongoing difficulties with standing water and flooding. After moving into her apartment, and over a course of months, our client began to develop breathing difficulties. She was diagnosed and treated for allergies and asthma, without significant improvement. In December 2004, about eight months after moving in, the woman developed critical breathing difficulties, resulting in her transfer and admission to a hospital in Philadelphia. There, she was diagnosed with a fungal infection of the lungs that, in turn, led to the need for surgery. Our client was left without any rib and/or muscular support in the chest wall, permanent discomfort and a cosmetic deformity. After the diagnosis, it was discovered that the woman’s apartment was infested with aspergilis, a common fungus caused by moisture. It was demonstrated that the fungus tested as similar to the type of infection found in the woman’s pathology. Investigation disclosed a long-standing water problem in the basement and crawlspace directly underneath our client’s apartment, and, an opening in a grate in a wall of her apartment, allowing moisture to seep in. Mitchell J. Makowicz, Jr. resolved this premises liability case before trial for $235,000.