Bed Bug Lawsuit Goes to Court

Another <"">bed bug lawsuit is making headlines, this time in Maryland. Sam Alfrey, the plaintiff in a small claims case against the owner of the Travelers Hotel LLC brought a bottle of dead bed bugs to court in a lawsuit seeking $2,480 for the rent he has paid since moving in last September, as well as expenses for a five-day hospital stay, said Appeal-Democrat.

Alfrey claims the room was riddled with bed bugs and black mold. Charles Johnston, the hotel manager, said that he’s been working on the bed bug problem since he was hired there seven months ago. The building is 100 years old, noted Appeal-Democrat. “I will not dispute those are bedbugs” in Alfrey’s room, Johnston said. “Bedbugs will continue to be an issue,” even in his room. “I saw one walking across my rug,” Johnston added, quoted Appeal-Democrat. Johnston also admitted in court that he advises prospective tenants about the hotel’s bed bug problem.

Alfrey disagreed, saying no one advised him about the bed bug issue, adding that the pests began biting him as soon as he moved in, said Appeal-Democrat. Johnston allegedly promised Alfrey a new box spring and mattress, but that has never materialized, wrote Appeal-Democrat.

Instead, Johnston helped Alfrey spray the old mattress with insecticide and place a plastic cover on it, said Alfrey; Johnston said that the problem has improved with the winter, said Appeal-Democrat. “Better—if that’s a word we can use about bedbugs,” the judge answered, quoted Appeal-Democrat.

Johnson said a pest control firm routinely visits the hotel, but not for bed bugs, which he said aren’t a “worthy” reason to lower Alfrey’s $395 monthly rent. There are other issues, said Appeal-Democrat, which wrote about the hotel’s circuit breakers tripping at night, which shut off electricity needed to operate Alfrey’s oxygen machine. In response, Johnston said an electrician is working on the issue.

Johnston said that he has asked Alfrey why he doesn’t move. “I’m not sure that’s a defense—if you don’t like it, leave,” the judge responded, saying he will issue a written ruling next week, wrote Appeal Democrat.

Bed bugs have been in the news a lot in recent month. The Jersey City Municipal Court and Hudson County Plaza building in New Jersey; the administrative offices of the University of Wisconsin Health and Clinics; the New York City Ballet and New York City Opera; Nike Inc.’s flagship store, Victoria’s Secret, Hollister, Bloomingdale’s, and Abercrombie and Fitch; Sirius Radio and the Wall Street Journal; theatres; apartments and hospitals nationwide; the Empire State Building; Connecticut’s prominent Academy of Information Technology and Engineering; Aurora Sinai Medical; and the Waldorf Astoria have all been plagued with the relentless pests.

The Waldorf Astoria has also been hit with two lawsuits and a third report of complaints of bed bugs. The resurgent pests have sparked at least two other lawsuits; many more lawsuits are expected as the pests show up in an ever-growing range of areas.

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