After Massachusetts Mold Verdict Boards Reassess Liability, Implement Management Programs

The entire real estate industry - from owners and developers to contractors and architects - has been focused on the issue of mold contamination during the past year. However, no segment of industry has been more watchful than cooperative and condominium boards. It has become increasingly clear that in the current environment, co-ops and condos must take a leadership position to maintain control over this issue.

With this in mind, many boards have begun to implement comprehensive mold management programs. Unfortunately, in some instances the "mold experts" being utilized by co-ops and condos are not properly pre-qualified. Inexperienced companies with limited expertise in mold contamination and mold management are doing more harm than good.

While there is still some dispute over the nature and extent of health risks associated with mold, there can be no doubt that the mere presence of mold in a residential building can become a serious problem - even if only through the negative perception and publicity that mold exposure can generate. This is true despite the lack of a definitive connection between mold and specific health problems.

Concern over liability and potential litigation risk clearly increased this past December when a "toxic mold" jury verdict (

Stevens v. Pirate's Lane Condominium Trust, et al) was rendered in Massachusetts to the tune of $285,000.

The case involved Katrine Stevens, a female graphic designer, who sued her condominium association in 1995 after suffering asthma and flu-like symptoms from reported toxic mold. After an eight-year battle with the condominium directors, the jury deciding on her lawsuit found in favor of Stevens. With interest, she could receive nearly $550,000.

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5 Comments

  • who were the toxicology experts in this case?
  • Daniel, I own a restoration company and specialize on mold removal and it's scary what goes on out there. You need look no further than property management companies and home owners with renters to find a large pool of people who remove mold with a hammer. It's jot as if they don’t know better either - they just want to go the cheapest route and it's only a matter of time before the litigation gates open... Dan with www.waterdamageout.com
  • My sister's condo suffered a brust water heater. The 1st floor (which includes 2 units) flooded to about 6 inches of water. Despite the testing my sister paid an accredited company to do, which detailed toxic mold in the building, the condo board refuses to clean up the building. My sister and a pregnant women on her floor have been forced out of the building by mold related sickness.
  • Your are referencing my case. Glad to see it. Katrine Stevens
  • Katherine Stevens I like to speak with you, I fought my landlord about the mold making me sick and he knew about it before I moved in from the previous tenant. I had to throw all my furniture out and he evicted me after I told him I was not paying rent until the mold was removed.. it landed in court. I would like to file a personal injury for mild related sickness and loss of work etc. I did have an environmental company come out and have the report that there was in fact mold.