I need some help with exposure to a water damaged building and the 300+ people that work in the building, many suffer health issues while in the building. The building owners have been negligent and despite some previous renovations and remediation we continue to have positive tests of mold in the building. We have been told that the HVAC system is not working, have had leaking roof, window leaks, floods that have contributed to the issue. We have little faith that the next phase of the renovations will be any better than the last round.I have been tested and do have issues that can be traced to issues related to the water damage in the building. I have pictures that show the water damage, building studies where the leaks, floods and mold issues have been noted, numerous newspaper articles going back to 2007 that discuss the ongoing issues of the building and the health issues of the people that work there.The people in the building would like to see about pursuing a class action suit against the building owner and possibly our employer who leases the building.I would like to hear from someone that would be able to help as we work to pursue our options and with our goal to work in a health work environment.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Alaska
Many people have tried Workers Comp but after they see the doctor for the insurance company many are left with few options and can not afford to travel to see a specialist in envirnomental health. Local doctors are uniformed about issues related to water damaged building despite new studies that now talk about bacteria in water damaged buildings that affect people's health, Mayo clinic study sinus infections related to mold same with Asthma. Both of which people suffer in the building.
Hello, and thank you for contacting Just Answer.
First, I am sorry that you and so many of your co-workers are having to struggle with continued exposure to a water-damaged building.
Unfortunately, lawsuits over such issues have had mixed results. There certainly have been instances where employers were required to provide adaptations under the Americans with Disabilities Act for individual employees who can demonstrate a Disability in party caused by exposure to a water damaged building.
However, suits for damages appear to have had less luck, and I am not familiar with any class action precedent to guide you, particularly because this is a relatively new (or at least newly discussed) health issue.
I do know that there are a few doctors around the country who research the issue and have acted as expert witnesses in suits against employers who fail to properly remediate water damaged buildings. Most prominent among them is Doctor Ritchie Shoemaker, and his website can be found at:
I do that that some people have successfully won some cases including one case that was written up in Tox Law. Kristina Townsend. People are scared and do not know where to turn.
I have done research on Dr. Shoemaker but once again we live in Alaska and any travel to see a doctor is expensive and can cost prohibitive.
That is right, there have been successful suits, and some less successful. I am in no way saying a suit cannot be successful, but more that this is a newer area of the law because, until recently, the issue was not being litigated as much.
I certainly understand, traveling to Maryland would be quite the hike for someone coming from Alaska, I just wanted to make sure you had access to information.
Ultimately, the key here would be to find a local attorney who has experience in personal injury and employment suits, as that is ultimately what this is.
So what type of things that we would need to have in place to give us a better chance if we decide to pursue this.
There are really two things that you need for any successful case (1) A good attorney who has experience in Litigation, and (2) documentation.
The documentation piece may actually be the easier piece of this puzzle. Every employee who is effected should be keeping notes as to when and how they are effected, as well as medical documentation (ie diagnosis information) from their doctor that water damage could be a factor in their health concerns. Also, having documentation that efforts have been made to work with the employer and building owner, but with little success.
Finding an attorney willing to take the case could be trickier, just because it is a newer area of the law, but ultimately that might just mean keeping up calling attorneys until you find one who can help. The Alaska State Bar Association does have a referral service at:
I have lots of documentation, emails going back to 2009 that show we were affected by something in the building. Eyes burning, difficulty breathing, rashes reported to management. Including the day that I had an allergic type reaction and could not breath.
If you can find a good attorney, they will take care of finding expert witnesses, etc (Shoemaker is the only one I can find with a quick google search, but there may be others).
That is all evidence that could be presented to show that medical issues were caused by poor maintenance of the building. As I said before, whatever records that can be found that injury occurred and that it was caused by a water damaged building are the building blocks of a suit. Keep in mind that the ultimate elements of a case such as this require (1) That a duty of care was owed, (2) that the duty was breached, either through negligence or intentionally, (3) that the breach caused injury, and (4) that the injury could have been foreseen by a reasonable person.
I hope this helps, and let me know if you require any further information. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer AT LEAST 3 out of 5 so that I can receive credit for my work.
I am working on gathering my information, I thank you for your help and I will rate your answer at least a 5. Thank you so much.
You are welcome, and I wish you the best of luck. Please do remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.
Licensed to practice law, I have experience in dealing with a wide variety of legal issues.
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