SE Texas Record

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Texas City couple alleges apartment owners' negligence led to child's illness from mold


By Carrie Bradon | Sep 10, 2019


GALVESTON — A Texas City couple is suing the apartment where they reside, alleging failure to fix a mold problem led to their child becoming ill.

Cassandra Lafferty and Patrick Hickman, individually and as next friend for minor B.H., filed a complaint Aug. 26 in Galveston County District Court against Mainland Crossing Townhomes LP, doing business as Retreat at Texas City, alleging negligence, liability and breach of contract.

According to the complaint, Lafferty and Hickman were tenants at Retreat at Texas City beginning in 2014. The suit states the plaintiffs complained of mold in the air ducts and vents and the defendant sent an inspector. The vents were sprayed to minimize the mold problem, the suit states. 

In 2017, after Hurricane Harvey caused extensive damages, the plaintiffs say they complained of mold again, and Retreat at Texas City sent an inspector. The plaintiffs say the inspector informed them that there was mold under the carpets and in the air vents. Rather than the carpet mold being remedied, the suit alleges, only the carpet padding was replaced and the vents were never cleaned. 

Lafferty and Hickman allege they sent the defendant pictures of the mold but the defendant failed to remedy the situation. The plaintiffs said they paid for another company to test for the presence of mold and the test revealed that there was toxic mold in the house. 

The plaintiffs said they notified the defendant of their findings Sept. 24, 2018, and Retreat at Texas City sent a company to clean the mold, but the company did an inferior job of cleaning and there was still visible mold in the apartment. 

The plaintiffs say they have continued to complain of the presence of mold and the defendant has responded by sending out a company that is not HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning system certified, and the company failed to start the job they were paid to. 

Finally, the suit alleges, on Oct. 8, 2018, Retreat at Texas City made one last attempt to have the plaintiffs' apartment cleaned but the company contacted by the defendant refused to start the work once they learned of the mold situation. As a result of the mold and the defendant's negligence to remedy the situation in a timely fashion, the plaintiffs say their child became sick and the plaintiffs have been caused to suffer personal damages.

Lafferty and Hickman seek up to $100,000, attorney fees, court costs, interest and all other just relief. They are represented by attorney Jose Luis Orihuela of Orihuela & Associates PLLC in League City.

Galveston County District Court case number 19-CV-1547

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