Back to the Basics – California Bed Bug Litigation

rentNothing can ruin a holiday vacation more than staying at a hotel infested by bed bugs. It is a nightmare that can last for weeks and affect your entire family. Rashes and illness are a common consequence. If you have come into contact with bed bugs you should know your legal rights.

Basic Facts

Bed bugs are tiny insects that live by feeding off the blood of warm blooded animals-with a strong preference for humans. They feed and are mostly active at night and prefer living in tight confined spaces and make their homes on wood, paper and fabric. They stick to clothes, luggage and can spread from person to person. Bed bugs can survive almost 12 months without feeding, and females lay up to 5 eggs per day. Their bites often result in red marks on the host. However, not all victims have a reaction to bed bug bites. Abhorrent as they are bed bugs are not thought to spread disease.  

Bed Bug Litigation

Bed bug litigation is on the rise in California and throughout the nation. Hotel owners appear to be the most prominent defendants. However, cases have been filed against furniture rental companies, youth summer camps, and apartment landowners too.

Bed bug infestation is not limited to low income families, or low cost roadside motels. In New York, Saturday Night Live performer Maya Rudolph is suing her condominium owners for over $450,000 after her and her family was attacked by bed bugs shortly after they moved into her $13,500 a month loft. Managers of The Presidential Towers in Chicago, an exclusive downtown apartment complex, are being sued over $50,000 for alleged bed bug infestation.

Victims of bed bug infestations may sue for bodily injuries and property damages sustained including: mental anguish, mental duress, loss of consortium, lost past and future income and medical fees, as well as relocation expenses, moving expenses and bed bug remediation fees.

However, the biggest damages awarded in these cases have been for punitive damages as a form of punishment to hotel owners who are aware of the problem, fail to remediate, and unconscionable expose patrons to the pests. In Mathias v. Accor Economy Lodging, Inc., the court awarded $186,000 in punitive damages to each family member victimized by the infestation. The Mathias court awarded punitive damages due largely to the motel owners’ prior knowledge of the condition, its refusal to spend $500 on exterminators to remediate the problem, and despite bed bug complaints from previous motel guests their willingness to expose innocent and unaware patrons to the same infested room.

Contact Us

If you think you are the victim of bed bug infestation, or if you operate a hotel and have been accused of bed bug infestation, please contact the Brod Law Firm for a no cost case evaluation.