Iowa Elderly Residents Seek Class Action Certification in BedBug Lawsuit
Elderly and disabled tenants at two Des Moines, Iowa apartment buildings are suing their apartment owners and managers seeking back rent, hardships and lost property due to a substantial bedbug infestation. Residents said they told the managers about this problem in which they had been repeatedly bitten, but the managers refused to do anything about it for two years, until the residents filed a lawsuit.
On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, lawyers for approximately 300 elderly residents filed court papers asking a judge to certify their case as a class action lawsuit. Documents were filed back in March 2010, but the case has been slow moving. If the courts certify this case as a class action, it will help move the case along faster toward trial.
The residents of the Elsie Mason Manor and Ligutti Towers in Des Moines have had to discard infested furniture, and most are sleeping on the floors now, as they don't have anywhere else to go because people are shunning them, afraid of an infestation of bedbugs.
American Baptist Home, the management company for these two apartment sites, says they have attempted to eliminate the problem, but have acknowledged that there is still a bedbug problem in these buildings. A spokesperson for the company said, "the only thing else they could do is probably fumigate, But then you've got to put (all the tenants) in a hotel. Who's going to pay for that? And which hotel's going to take them?"
According to court documents, about one-third of the apartments have had a bedbug problem that has dated back to 2007.