As bed bug infestations increase across the nation, attorneys are more inclined to run into a client who needs their help. Hotel corporations, hospitals, landlords, tenants and real estate agents are turning toward Attorneys in ever increasing numbers for help with their bed bug related legal issues.

Client is a Hotel, Hospital or Landlord

When your client is the owner of the property in a bed bug case it is important to familiarize yourself with the potential causes of actions that can be brought against the client. The following are just some of the suits brought against hotels, hospital or landlords.

  • Potential Causes of Action
      1. Negligence

     

      1. Breach of Contract (Misrepresentation)

     

      1. Violations of Code

     

    1. Breach of Warranty

Client is a Pest Control Professional

When your client is a pest control professional the causes of action relate more to a failure to properly treat the plaintiff’s property than any culpability for causing the infestation. Pest control professionals face potential liability in many forms they have been sued for failing to get rid of an infestation as promised to the plaintiff, not living up to their warranty of service, and in a few sensational cases property damage caused by negligent discharge of flammable chemicals.

Because the pest control industry is so tightly regulated in most states, it may be possible to determine whether your client acted negligently by looking to your state’s standards and regulations for pest control professionals. As you are probably aware accordance with state regulations is strong evidence that no negligence occurred but it is by no means a complete barrier to all liability.

  • Potential Causes of Action
      1. Negligence

     

      1. Breach of Contract (Misrepresentation)

     

      1. Violations of Code

     

    1. Breach of Warranty

Client is a Homeowner

When your client is a victim of a bed bug infestation it is sometimes difficult to assign liability for the infestation. Common targets of homeowner’s lawsuits include hotels, landlords and pest control companies. Since bed bugs are often difficult to recognize by the untrained eye, it may be some time before homeowners recognize that all of the health side effects (itching, allergies, [INSERT OTHER HEALTH SIDE EFFECTS OF BED BUGS] were caused by tiny pests in their bed. Unfortunately these lapses make it difficult to determine the source of the infestation. Often bed bugs will attach to luggage or clothes and hitch a ride from a hotel, hospital, or friends house and follow your client to their bed where they are fruitful and multiply until your client has a genuine infestation. There are a scattering of legal entomology experts out there that have developed methodology to determine the origin of an infestation based on the species of insect. For more information on testing methods see George Rotramel’s article “Bed Bugs: Going Beyond the Basics” [www.georgerotramel.com/solutions. Since most clients are inclined to get rid of the insects, they have probably already dealt with a Pest Control Company to fix the problem. While most pest control workers are licensed and follow strict professional guidelines, in some cases their negligence may exacerbate the problem or may fail to treat the problem. In these cases it may be necessary to add the Pest Control Company to the list of defendants.

In the case of new homeowners that have inherited an infestation of the previous owner. The liability may lie in the hands of a real estate agent or the previous owners. Determining the legal remedy appropriate for the situation depends on the nature of the infestation and the level of knowledge of the agents or previous owners and the information was simply not disclosed to the buyer or if the buyer was actively mislead to believe the property was not infested.

  • Potential Causes of Action
      1. Negligence

     

      1. Breach of Contract (Misrepresentation)

     

      1. Violations of Code

     

    1. Breach of Warranty

Client is a Renter

When your client is a tenant, their property rights are determined by state or municipal code, common law and the terms of the lease. When a tenant has bed bugs one of the most common causes of action is breach of the Implied Warranty of Habitability. As you are probably aware the warranty is found in most states in some form of code. In many states the warranty specifically lists insect infestation as a breach of the warranty. For example see California Civil Code � 1941.1-1941.3 [ www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate? WAISdocID=90155723712+1+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve] Closely tied to the implied warranty of habitability is the doctrine of constructive eviction. The warranty and constructive eviction are the most useful tools when your client has determined that they are better off moving on to another place then staying and trying to fight with the landlord to get the infestation cleaned up.

Your client’s landlords actions may very well also lend itself to a negligence lawsuit or if the terms of the contract dictate a breach of contract lawsuit.

  • Potential Causes of Action and Defenses
      1. Negligence

     

      1. Breach of Contract (Misrepresentation)

     

      1. Implied Warranty of Habitability

     

    1. Constructive Eviction

Call today at 1-800-986-1006 for help with a bed bug infestation. You’re also welcome to complete the form below and a caring Hearts Pest Management representative will contact you shortly.

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