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Should you Paint over Mold?

If you have a mold issue on the walls of your home, it can be an unsightly view. The black and green spots don’t typically make for a beautiful home. Mold grows quickly so if your walls are wet, they may quickly become covered in it. Looking for a quick fix and wondering if you can paint over mold?

Painting over mold is one of the most common methods to hide mold. But that is the problem – you are only hiding the mold temporarily. Many people choose this solution because it is the quickest solution to hide the ugly signs of mold on their walls. Often, when people choose to paint over mold it is because of ignorance. They simply are not educated about the seriousness of mold in the home. However, it is all too common for landlords, propery managers and even some homeowners to paint over mold because it is the cheapest and fastest way to cover mold.
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Examples of Mold Lawsuits

Lawsuits Won Against Mold

Here are some examples of lawsuits resulting in high-dollar awards to those who suffered because of toxic mold:

A Group in California

A group in California was awarded $1.3 million for claims against contractors that performed work so poorly it caused leaks and allowed mold to enter their homes.

Two Women in Delaware

Two women in Delaware were awarded $1.04 million because their landlord failed to fix leaks which led to mold in the residence, as well as claimed health issues as a result.

A Homeowner in California V Allstate

A homeowner in California was awarded $18 million against Allstate Insurance because of their refusal to approve claims for mold damage. The judge lowered the jury’s award down to $3 million.

Celebrity in Los Angeles loses big

In October 2012, former NBA player and coach Rudy Tomjanovich and his wife were ordered by a Los Angeles County Superior Court to pay over $2.7 million in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages. Plaintiff had purchased the Tomjanovich’s Pacific Palisades home in 2007 and alleged that they failed to disclose the existence of water leaks and mold in the residence during the sales transaction.

Renter in Oregon

On December 9, 2011, an Oregon jury returned a verdict of $103,000, plus attorneys’ fees, against a property management company. The plaintiff, a radiologist, had rented a home managed by the defendant. When a water leak occurred in a stairwell, plaintiff advised the defendant property management company. Despite the complaint, no repairs were made and a strong musty odor developed.

Further Recommended Reading :

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Toxic Mold Litigation – Do I Have A Case?

What Do I Need To Win?

Toxic mold litigation is a growing field in law. However, only certain attorneys are qualified to handle these types of cases. Dealing with a toxic mold case absorbs resources and time. Be prepared as litigation can last for over 2 years and injuries can be difficult to prove. If you have been exposed to toxic mold you need to know your rights, and how to build your case. An attorney who specializes in mold cases will be able to tell you what your local laws are.

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Real Estate Transactions and Failure to Disclose

Almost every single home buyer should be cautious of failure to disclose issues. Failure to disclose generally refers to the sellers failure to disclose material defects with the property. When sellers fail to disclose they will be held liable for damages sustained by the buyer. It is important to make sure you know your rights. Below we discuss some of your rights and the duties of sellers with regards to the sale of any residential real property.

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Top 3 Things Mold Needs to Grow

What Does Mold Need to Grow?

According to Michael Pugliese, author of The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold, there are three main necessities that mold spores need to grow and thrive:

  • Moisture

Mold spores need moist or damp areas to grow and reproduce. Watch for flooding, leaky pipes or windows, etc. Also excess moisture in the bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms are prime areas for mold growth.

  • Food

Mold spores need food – in the literal sense as well as other materials (i.e. cotton, leather, wood, paper products and others). The most dangerous materials mold loves to grow on, are porous materials (beds, couches etc). Its often impossible to remove mold growth from these items.

  • Optimum Temperatures

Mold spores thrive in temperatures 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures from about 70 – 90 degrees are the most conducive for mold growth. Chances of mold growth are heightened greatly between those temperatures. You may be wondering why mold can grow in your freezer. Mold doesn’t die when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, they lay dormant until temperatures raise, or they are set out to warm up.

Favorable Conditions for Mold

Michael Pugliese, author of the same book previously mentioned, also offers 5 tips describing favorable or unfavorable conditions for mold growth:

  • A relative Humidity of roughly 50% or higher

A good preventative measure would be to purchase a hygrometer to measure humidity levels in your home.

  • Damp or Dusty Conditions

Avoid developing piles of rags, clothing or other mold food sources.

  • Stagnant air

This explains why overly “tight” homes designed for energy efficiency can have mold problems.

Unfavorable Conditions for Mold

  • Ventilation

Good circulation throughout the home is important to eliminate dampness or potential moisture; especially in attics, basements, crawlspaces, laundry rooms.

  • Dry Air Indoors

Make sure to keep your home’s relative humidity down below 50%.

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Pugliese, Michael. “The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold.” 4-5.

How to Handle Mold & Water Damage Claims

Home Insurance Policies

As many of you may already know, mold damage is specifically excluded from all home insurance companies. According to Vicki Lankarge in her book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It,” she lists 4 damages resulting in exclusion from home insurance policies:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Poor maintenance (you should have replaced the shower grout, but didn’t)
  • Standing or surface water (unles it’s floodwater and you purchased separate flood insurance)
  • Construction mistakes or defects (nails accidentally driven into water pipes or faulty home design)

Note : It is important to understand and be knowledgeable about what your insurance policy covers and what it does not.

Mold & Water Damage Claims

Again, Vicki Lankarge in her words of the same book, lists 14 steps to follow after your water damage claim has been identified :

    • Stop the water leak or flow of water.
    • Notify your insurer immediately. If you let any damage fester and don’t report it immediately, our claim may be denied. Remember, sudden leaks are covered, but chronic leaks are not.
    • Ask what is required of you. Your duties, as outlined in most home insurance policies, may include:

1. Giving prompt written notice to your insurer of the facts surrounding your claim.

2. Protect your property from further damage.

3. Performing reasonable and necessary repairs to protect your property.

4. Keeping an accurate record of your repair expenses.

  • Make a list of your damaged property and photograph or videotape the damage before making repairs.
  • Don’t make large structural or permanent repairs to protect your home and belongings until your insurer has the opportunity to inspect the damage and gives you authorization to make permanent repairs.The insurance company may deny your claim if you amke permanent repairs before it inspects the damage.
  • Remove standing water and begin drying the area.
  • Remove water-soaked materials.
  • Keep removed materials and move them to a secure, dry, and well-ventilated area, or outdoors.
  • Protect repairable and undamaged items from further damage.
  • Keep an activity log, including a record of all contact with your insurance company. This is extremely important.A log not only helps you stay focused and organized, it may play a key part in negotiations with your insurer should you encounter problems with your claim later on.
  • Keep all receipts. For personal property claims, you must proved evidence that you bought the replacement items. If you bought materials for temporary repairs, receipts will help you get reimbursed.
  • Don’t throw away removed or damaged materials until instructed by your insurance company.
  • Don’t jeopardize your safety.
  • Don’t exceed your personal financial or physical capabilites.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Lankarge, Vicki. “What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It.” 60-65.

A Few Reasons Mold Claims are Rising

Why Are Mold Claim Rates Rising?

Today, mold claim rates have sky rocketed. Compare the number of now to just twenty years ago and you’ll see the number of mold claims being filed as jumped significantly.

People are more aware of the dangers of mold. They’re experiencing the symptoms. They’re dealing personally with mold exposure.

Here are 5 reasons why mold claims are rising :

  • The public is more knowledgeable:
    Perhaps 20 years ago, people didn’t as readily know about mold as they do today. We weren’t aware of its causes or risks, or that it could be prevented. Now, if mold is left untreated, the public is aware that there is negligence that can be claimed against another party. 
    Most people affected by mold want the responsible party to take action, and often a lawsuit is the only way to achieve that.
  • Mold is more common than people realize:
    Mold spores are present in every home and every building. It is impractical to eliminate all mold spores in the air, but it is not as impossible to prevent them from growing.
    Even so, mold easily grows in moisture-filled areas such as between and on walls, in bathrooms, under floors, and under roofs.
  • Moisture-related damage is common:
    The Southern states deal with humidity every year, but areas that don’t deal with humidity may be prone to natural disasters such as flooding.
    In addition, it is common for damage to appear because of plumbing leaks, broken pipes, or inefficiently installed HVAC systems. Moisture is the number one cause of mold.
  • Cross claims and counter claims:
    Once a claim is filed, for instance, against a contractor, that contractor may in turn file a cross claim against another defendant, such as a subcontractor.
    Anyone involved in a new construction project can be liable, from contractors to architects, and most everyone involved usually ends up having a claim against them.Counter claims are when the defendant files a claim against the plaintiff, usually claiming that their own negligence caused the damage.
  • People spend more time indoors:
    Society is spending more and more time indoors, either working or relaxing at home.
    As our culture strays away from spending more time outdoors, we will use more water indoors, bring more mold spores inside, and overall contribute more often to the conditions that enable mold to grow more readily.


Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Mold Lawsuits Rising

Why are Mold Lawsuit Cases Rising?

Lawsuits against building owners, contractors, and insurance companies have skyrocketed over the last 10 years. Many people blame the increasing American culture of wanting to sue.

However, many factors play into the overall increase of claims being filed.

Many fears of mold, and the claims that go with them, are without warrant, though there are a number of valid claims that are filed every day.

Judges and juries have already awarded millions in several lawsuits regarding health and home damage that resulted from mold exposure.

Desert State Claims Rise Even Faster

In desert states such as Arizona and New Mexico, the number of mold claims against insurance companies continues to rise faster than in any other part of the nation.

This is due to the increase in new construction, as well as the need of the occupants to use air conditioners, which can trap and redistribute mold spore.

With more homes being built, more water being run into commercial buildings, and more people being aware of the hazards of mold, lawsuits will only continue to rise until legislation or insurance limits are put in place.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

toxic mold litigation

Toxic Mold Lawsuits

How common are Toxic Mold Lawsuits?

In a country where personal injury and negligence lawsuits are commonplace, it was only a matter of time before the United States saw lawsuits regarding toxic black mold.

There are now several active lawsuits around the country regarding mold in residential or commercial buildings, and the exposure too their inhabitants.

What is Toxic Mold?

Toxic mold, scientifically known as Stachybotrys, is the greenish-black mold that grows on material with high cellulose content, such as straw, fiberboard, dry wall, and paper.

It does not grow on plastics and vinyl. Stachybotrys gives off powerful mycotoxins that are dangerous to human health when exposed to them.

With the public becoming more and more aware of the dangers of mold, and upon the decision of most health departments to label Stachybotrys as a health hazard, the path has been laid for lawsuits to commence.

What is the Outcome of Toxic Mold Lawsuits?

Building owners, homebuilders, and insurance companies are all finding themselves on the defending end of litigation.

Courts are taking these claims very seriously, and juries have already awarded large sums to people who have been negatively affected by toxic mold.

Insurance companies have had to payout when they failed to pay for moisture-related repairs that eventually turned into a mold problem, and homebuilders have lost suits that claims bad workmanship contributed to the ability for Stachybotrys to grow and take over.

Further Recommended Reading

Mold Claims

Effects of Mold Exposure

Exposure to mold can cause itchy eyes, scratchy throats, and other allergy symptoms in people with such reactions. For deadlier effects however, there is no proof.

Though, “Toxic Mold” is responsible for releasing something called mycotoxins, which has been said to cause such things as asthma, heart damage, and loss of memory.

The worst of these suspected toxic molds is stachybotrys chartarum, a variety of black mold that requires nearly constant moisture.

Although Trial Lawyers Inc. tries to prove such, medical science still strives to prove the connection between toxic mold and serious health illnesses.

Who Has a Higher Risk?

Patients with chronic respiratory diseases have a higher risk in mold touched environments. Acknowledging this, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control states that the following is the current state of science on “toxic” mold:

“There are very few case reports that toxic molds (those containing certain mycotoxins) inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss.

These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxic mold and these conditions has not been proven.”

Mold Panic

The mold panic was started mostly back in 1994 and 1997 when the US Centers for Disease Control illegedly found a connection between the toxic mold breed stachybotrys chartarum and health illnesses in infants found in Cleveland.

However, in the year 2000, the CDC decided against former methodology, and retracted earlier reports.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source : Trial Lawyers Inc. 2003

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