A Maryland woman who developed a severe rash after moving into an apartment whose landlord had been notified of a potential bedbug infestation and did nothing about it was awarded $800,000 by a jury last week.
In her lawsuit, Faika Shaaban, 69, claimed she had no idea the Annapolis apartment she rented in the fall of 2011 was potentially infected with bedbugs. She also claimed to have hundreds of bedbug bites, lesions and scars, The Baltimore Sun reported.
After winning her case Shaaban was awarded $800,000, the largest amount granted in this type of case, according to lawyers who have dealt with them in the past. Most of the money, $650,000 -- a lot more than what she sought -- was awarded as punitive damages.
According to the Sun, both the verdict and the amount granted to Shaaban prove that jurors and people across the country are taking serious offense against the nationwide growth in bedbug cases.
Shaaban's attorney, Daniel W. Whitney of Towson, said the results demonstrated the ire of the jurors against both the insects and the landlords who refuse to deal with infestations. He added that this was the jurors' "opportunity to send a message to the community, to landlords, that you must abate it."
The defendant, landlord Cornelius J. Barrett and West Street Partnership, a company that owns the property and of which Barrett is a general partner, did not respond to the lawsuit, according to Whitney and court records.