San Bernadino, CA ? Jurors in California have returned a defense verdict in what is believed to be the first mold-related wrongful death case to go to trial in the United States, HarrisMartin Publishing is reporting. Dayton, et al. v. Highlands Mobile Home Estates, No. SCVSS655567 (Calif. Super. Ct., San Bernardino Cty.).
In a statement issued this morning, counsel for defendants in the case said a San Bernardino Superior Court jury deliberated three hours before returning a unanimous verdict yesterday for a company that sold a mobile home to one of the plaintiffs who died, allegedly as a result of a fungal infection in her lungs caused by exposure to high levels of mold in the home.
The unanimous award was for plaintiffs’ claims for negligence, fraud, negligent infliction of emotional distress and wrongful death, the statement said. Jurors found for plaintiffs on a breach of contract claim, but awarded no damages, the statement said. The plaintiffs asked the jury to award damages in excess of $7.5 million on all claims.
According to counsel, the defendants were able to demonstrate that any alleged exposure to mold did not cause the physical ailments alleged by the plaintiffs and did not cause the death of the lead plaintiff. The defendants also showed that the plaintiffs’ immune systems were not suppressed as a result of living in the mobile home and that an infant, who lived in the mobile home and was a plaintiff in the suit, will not require lifelong medical care as a result of his mold exposure.
Kevin Grambling and Steve Pratt of Klinedinst Attorneys At Law in San Diego represented the defendants.