Dad seeks $3M for daughter's exposure to moldy apartment

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jul. 8, 2008, 6:19am

The Park at Waterford in Kemah

GALVESTON – Reported widespread presence of mold forced a local man and his infant daughter to leave their apartment after a year as tenants, argues a lawsuit filed in Galveston County District Court on July 1.

Paul Michael Madden, on behalf of Faith Madden, is seeking $3 million in damages from VR Park At Waterford Limited Partnership, Venterra Realty Management Co. Inc. and Rie Gresham for negligent maintenance of Apartment Number 701 at The Park At Waterford complex in Kemah.

The pair is represented by attorney Michael G. Martinez of Friendswood.

The original petition states that the Maddens moved into the apartment in November 2007 and lived there "until (Paul Michael Madden) discovered that the apartment was infested with the toxic black mold known as stachybotrys."

"Mr. Madden and Faith vacated the apartment because under the circumstances the dwelling was inhabitable," it explains.

The suit claims the 1-year-old girl "was exposed to the mold and exhibited mold exposure and allergic-like symptoms such as uncontrollable coughing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, and other respiratory ailments."

In response, her father pursued medical assistance. He says physicians informed him that there was a connection between the baby's condition and mold exposure.

"Such mold created a health hazard for Faith and anyone living in the apartment," says the suit.

Faith Madden was diagnosed with chronic asthma. Consequently, Paul Michael Madden felt the time had come for them both to move somewhere else.

Prior to leaving the apartment, Paul Michael Madden detected signs of a water leak in his ceiling and alerted the defendants.

A series of water breakages soon followed without any intervention from management, according to the suit. In addition, no initiative was taken to rid the dwelling of mold.
Meanwhile, Faith Madden's health started to deteriorate.

The defendants' indifference prompted Paul Michael Madden to hire a professional inspector to survey the apartment and nearby areas, most especially the area of the water intrusion.

"Samples of the apartment were analyzed, and Mr. Madden was advised that the apartment was infested with stachybotrys," says the complaint.

A request for a jury trial was submitted. Judge Lonnie Cox, 56th District Court, is presiding over the case.

Case No. 08CV0693

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