Vuckovich v. Starvest, et al
Attorneys Jeffrey LaFave & Katie Chifcian recently settled a wrongful death/mold exposure case for $2.2 million. Mr. LaFave & Ms. Chifcian represented a family (a mother, father and young daughter) who alleged that a significant mold problem in their former home caused the death of their three-year-old son and brother, in addition to causing their own personal injuries. The defendants in the suit were Plaintiffs’ former landlord and former property manager, along with a remediation company that was hired to investigate mushroom growth that was occurring in the boy’s bedroom. Plaintiffs alleged that unremediated mold growth caused a significant amplification of mold in the air, which led to a fatal fungal colonization of Aspergillus in the young boy, who was immunocompromised from a prior kidney transplant and thus more susceptible to infection. There were a number of difficulties with the case, including significant coverage issues that resulted in one of the carriers filing a declaratory relief action, numerous cross complaints, and highly contested medical causation. Causation was especially difficult to establish for a variety of reasons, including the fact that environmental testing inside the home failed to show the specific species of mold that caused the infection and that the specific species that caused the infection is quite common in the outdoor air.