Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fair Housing & Reasonable Accommodation: Landlord Who Allegedly Failed To Give Known-Asthmatic Tenant Advance Notice Of Landscape Mulching Work Coughs Up $290K To Settle Tenant's Family's Lawsuit Who Say Fatal Asthma Attack Was Triggered By Mulching

In Hartford, Connecticut, the Connecticut Law Tribune reports:
  • The family of a 61-year-old Connecticut man who died from an asthma attack, allegedly because the owners of his apartment did not inform the family they were doing mulching and landscaping work, has settled a lawsuit for $290,000.

    Marcial Torres suffered a severe asthma attack in April 2008, about a year after his wife and then 8-year-old granddaughter asked the apartment manager to notify them in advance of any mulching work. The Torres family, who lived on the first floor in New Britain's Evergreen Apartments, were allegedly never notified and Torres had an asthma attack in November 2009. A 40-page lawsuit was filed in October 2010.

    While the defense denied that conversation occurred, the family's attorney said it did.

    "I believe, with every fiber of my being, that the meeting occurred," said attorney Tracey E. Hardman. "The mulch was applied just once a year and they were asking for a very minimal and reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act."

    The settlement was reached March 29 between Hardman and Simsbury-based attorney Peter Ponziani, who represented Evergreen Apartments, Roy's Landscaping and apartment manager Lorraine Ross. Ponziani, of Litchfield Cavo, was not available for comment. The two-day session was mediated by Hartford Superior Court Judge Antonio Robaina. The case was scheduled for trial in April.

    During the 19 months following his asthma attack until his death, Torres suffered a severe brain injury and was in a coma-like state, Hardman said. "His wife would set her alarm every three hours during that period to turn him and to be sure he did not get bed sores or rashes which would have caused him even more suffering." Not once in 19 months "did she sleep more than three hours at a time," Hardman said.

    Hardman said Elba Torres, who now lives in Florida, "is relieved this is over. It honored her husband's memory."

    Hardman said she disclosed that, if there were a trial, Yale University pulmonologist Geoffrey R. Connors would have testified that "mulch is a known and active asthma trigger."

    The money should be dispersed to Elba Torres and her daughter later this month, Hardman said. It will be paid by Country Mutual Insurance.
Source: Fatal Asthma Attack Results in $290,000 Settlement (may require subscription; if no subscription, TRY HERE, then click the appropriate link). contamination epa environmental protection agency

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