A woman living at the Cardinal Village Apartments claims she was bitten by brown recluse spiders that had infested her apartment. She is accusing the apartment owners and managers of negligence and suing them for medical expenses and other damages.
Lisa F. Adams filed a personal injury suit against American Campus Communities Inc. and American Campus Management (Texas) Ltd. in Jefferson County Court at Law No. 1 on Sept. 19.
According to the plaintiff's original petition, Adams resided at Cardinal Village when she sustained spider bites on Sept. 20, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2005. Cardinal Village is an on-campus housing facility for students at Lamar University-Beaumont. The University has not been named in the lawsuit.
"Plaintiff sustained spider bites as a result of a severe infestation of spiders in her apartment," the petition states. "Defendants were aware of this condition and did no properly correct such dangerous condition."
Adams claims the defendants negligently permitted the premises to become infested with brown recluse spiders, willfully allowed the infestation to continue and willfully failed to warn Adams of the infestation.
In addition, she says the condition had continued for such a period that had American Campus exercised ordinary care in the maintenance of the premises, it would have been noticed and corrected.
The brown recluse spider has a reputation for inflicting poisonous bites, but in fact the spiders are not aggressive and bite only when threatened, usually when pressed up against the victim's skin.
According to emedicinehealth.com, the brown recluse seeks out dark, warm, dry environments such as attics, closets, porches, barns, basements, woodpiles, and old tires. Most bites occur in the summer months. The spider's venom is poisonous and toxic to cells and tissues, however serious disease rarely results because of the small amount of venom released in the bite.
In rare conditions, the brown recluse bite can cause tissue necrosis, kidney damage, coma or death.
The property management was guilty of negligent conduct by failing to properly inspect the premises, failing to eliminate the brown recluse spiders or other spiders from the premises, failing to warn plaintiff of the infestation and for failing to timely spray and take proper precautionary measures, the plaintiff alleges.
The petition also alleges that the defendants were in violation of state laws or regulations regarding the elimination of insects and dangerous insects in an area open to the public.
Because the she believes the defendants understood the extreme degree of risk and yet proceeded with conscious indifference to the safety and welfare of Adams and others, the plaintiff is seeking exemplary damages in an amount to be determined at trial.
Adams is also seeking damages for past and future medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, loss of earnings and earnings capacity, disfigurement and other damages to be determined. Additionally, she is seeking interest, costs and expenses.
"Plaintiff has suffered losses and damages in a sum of not more than $74,999.99, exclusive of interests and costs," the petition states.
Mark Faggard of Beaumont is representing the plaintiff.
The case has been assigned to Judge Alfred Gerson, County Court at Law No. 1.
Case No. 109-434