A 69-year-old Maryland woman who claims that she was driven from her apartment by bedbugs is celebrating a big legal victory.
After renting an apartment in September 2011, Falka Shaaban says that she discovered it to be infested with the biting bugs. After she complained, she was evicted from the apartment and her property was stolen after it was deposited on the sidewalk. She sued the property owner and management firm, claiming they knew about the infestation and refused to fumigate the apartment, the Daily News notes.
It took a jury just 45 minutes to find in Shaaban’s favor, awarding her $800,000, including $650,000 in punitive damages.
A legal expert said the case signaled the juries were increasingly sensitive to bed bug infestations and could herald a wave of similar cases in coming years.
Recent reports indicate that bed bug infestations are on the upswing at U.S. hospitals and nursing homes.