Klinedinst Attorneys Win Verdict in Precedent-Setting Mold Wrongful Death Case

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California law firm successfully defends mobile home owners and insurers against wrongful death case attributed to mold. Case sets a precedent, as this is believed to be the first mold wrongful death case in the country.

Klinedinst attorneys Kevin Gramling and Steve Pratt obtained a defense verdict in what is believed to be the first wrongful death mold trial in the United States. Klinedinst's successful defense could set a new precedent in the increasingly complex and expensive arena of mold litigation.

The eight-week trial of Dayton et al. v. Highlands Mobile Home Estates et al. (Superior Court of San Bernardino, Case No. SCVSS65567) stemmed from the sale of a mobile home to a 60-year old grandmother and her two-year old grandson. Gramling and Pratt, both shareholders of the firm, defended the seller of the mobile home and the park where the mobile home was situated.

The plaintiffs claimed that the mobile home was infested with mold, to include a potentially toxic mold, stachybotrys. The plaintiffs claimed to have suffered physical ailments as a result of their exposure to mold, including respiratory problems, skin rashes, chronic fatigue and immune suppression. Plaintiffs' attorneys had projected future medical expenses for the grandson of over $8 million ($1.5 million when discounted to present value). When one of the plaintiffs died in 2001, plaintiffs' pathologist determined the cause of death was an overwhelming fungal infection in her lungs. The plaintiffs had asked the jury for over $7.5 million.

During trial, Gramling and Pratt were able to demonstrate that the mobile home was not infested with mold, and that the indoor mold levels were consistent with outdoor mold levels. They further proved that the defendants were reasonable in their repair efforts to the mobile home, both before and after the plaintiffs moved in.

Gramling and Pratt were also successful in demonstrating to the jury that any alleged exposure to mold did not cause the physical ailments which plaintiffs were claiming, and did not cause the death of the lead plaintiff. They were able to prove to the jury that the plaintiffs' immune systems were not suppressed as a result of living in the mobile home, and that the grandson would not require lifelong medical care.

The jury deliberated for only three hours, and then returned the defense verdict. The jury found for the defendants 12-0 on negligence, fraud, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful death. While the jury found 10-2 that the defendants breached a contract, they did not award any damages.

Klinedinst congratulates Kevin Gramling and Steven Pratt for their expertise, diligence and extraordinary work during this closely-watched case.

About Klinedinst

Klinedinst PC has achieved Martindale-Hubbell's highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards. Klinedinst is a full-service firm that has engaged in civil litigation and transactional law practice throughout California for the past twenty years. We are a defense firm representing corporation, institutional and individual clients at both the trial and appellate levels in federal and state courts.

Klinedinst has three office locations: San Diego, Orange County, and downtown Los Angeles. For more information about the firm, please click here.

Note to Media: For all press inquiries, please contact Mary Greenawalt at 619-239-8131.


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Mary Greenawalt