Fines and Lawsuits.
In 1988, the Wall Street Journal reported that “sick buildings leave builders and others facing a wave of lawsuits. More office workers are filing lawsuits, claiming they were made ill by indoor air pollution from such things as insect sprays, cigarette smoke, industrial cleaners, and fumes from new carpeting, furniture, draperies and copiers.”
Litigation is a serious risk for building owners and managers. Some causes of action can be negligence, constructive eviction, workers’ compensation, and more.
The 1979 trial of Prudential Property Insurance Company vs William H. Cole determined that the building owner was responsible for and liable for negative health effects experienced by a tenant.
In 2003, Ed McMahon received over $7 million from a lawsuit alleging that toxic mold throughout his house killed his dog, and caused him and his wife to become ill.
Another case awarded a family $32 million against their insurance carrier for mold issues in their residence.
Attorneys urge professionals to reduce their indoor air quality (IAQ) liabilities by advising contractors to incorporate beneficial IAQ designs into new building construction so that IAQ isn’t an afterthought. Something as simple as proper placement of ventilation could ward off any IAQ problems.
For the building owners, a routine preventative maintenance plan can save money over time, keep building occupants healthy, and avoid issues with lawsuits and OSHA complaints.