SANTA BARBARA, Calif., May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following a nine week trial, a Santa Barbara jury returned a 12-0 defense verdict in a closely-watched case involving complex claims of bodily injuries and economic damages in a mold exposure and asbestos. Victoria Ersoff and Uyen Nguyen with Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP represented the defendants.
Plaintiffs Inger Budke, William Budke and their children sued the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, its Executive Director/CEO; Deputy Executive Director/COO; and Director of Property & Development for bodily injuries, emotional distress, property damage, loss of consortium and economic losses allegedly stemming from exposure to mold and asbestos in a senior housing community.
Inger Budke worked as the Resident Coordinator at the apartments owned by Defendants. Budke lived there with her family. Plaintiffs accused Defendants of failing to remediate conditions in the apartment which rendered it uninhabitable. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants did not properly train their maintenance crew regarding the identification and remediation of mold and asbestos, and violated asbestos regulations in their maintenance and remediation work property-wide. Plaintiffs alleged adverse health conditions as a result of living in an uninhabitable apartment. They claimed that their daughters developed asthma and severe allergies, and that their youngest daughter was born with severe neuro-cognitive and neuro-behavioral deficits as a result of conditions in the apartment.
Strategically crafted motions in limine and a full week of 402 hearings resulted in all neurological, neurobehavioral and psychological claims being dismissed by the Court. All evidence relating to mycotoxins and poisons was likewise dismissed.
Plaintiffs took seven weeks to present their case to the jury. "We knew we had a smart jury and, with such a long trial, we made the strategic decision to cut our witness list in half and present our entire case in only eight days," said Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman lead trial attorney Victoria Ersoff. After deliberating less than one day, the jury returned with a verdict for the Defense. They also found Plaintiff Inger Budke to be contributorily negligent.
Prior to trial, Defendants served statutory offers to compromise on each of the Plaintiffs totaling $54,000. In voir dire, Plaintiffs' counsel informed the panel she would be asking the jury to award Plaintiffs millions in compensatory and punitive damages. Defendants are entitled to recover from Plaintiffs their attorneys' fees & costs.
SOURCE Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP