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Lincoln resident sues landlord over mold in her duplex

A Lincoln resident, who was diagnosed with fungal pneumonia, has filed a lawsuit against the manager of her west Lincoln duplex. She claims that the manager of the duplex repeatedly failed to address the mold issue, which she reported several times.

Jacqueline Leafty first spotted what appeared to be black mold on her bedroom ceiling, according to the lawsuit that was filed with Lancaster County District Court.

Leafty signed the lease for her apartment, which is located in a duplex at 1741 S.W. 10th Street just two months before the lawsuit was filed. She was paying $675 in rent. Soon after she discovered the mold growth, she started to feel sick on a frequent basis.

According to the lawsuit, Leafty complained about the problem and an employee of Seldin Co. of Omaha, the company that manages the property, assessed the apartment and sprayed the black spot with a chemical. The employee of the property management company told Leafty that there wasn’t any mold in the apartment.

After the problem was addressed, Leafty and her family continued to live in the apartment, and to their dismay, the black spot returned and continued to grow, and then Leafty got sick. Her doctor diagnosed her with fungal pneumonia, a condition that is a direct result of mold exposure. Her doctor urged her to have the apartment inspected for mold.

The apartment was inspected, swabbed, and tested, but no mold growth was reported to be found. Two months later, Leafty arranged for a second opinion. A third-party company found mold spores in her apartment, including Stachybotrys, a strain of mold that is known to cause health problems.

Leafty has suffered permanent damage to her lungs and will have breathing issues for the foreseeable future, the lawsuit stated. The lawsuit also said that the owner of the building failed to ensure a safe and habitable home and that they deliberately misled Leafty about the presence of mold.

Leafty is seeking $31,623.16 to cover the cost of her medical expenses and the treatments that she will need, as well as unnamed damages for her illness, the expenses associated with moving, legal fees, and pain and suffering.

Bob Dean, the president of Seldin, did not comment on the case, stating that he needed to review the complaint and visit with the staff and his legal counsel before he did.

Affordable Housing West L.P., the property owner is also named in the lawsuit. The Nebraska Security of State’s Office lists the Indian Center Trust of Lincoln as the registered agent of Affordable Housing. Despite an attempt to reach the Indian Center Trust, they could not be reached.

Mold Testing & Inspection Omaha has years of experience performing mold assessments in apartments throughout the Omaha and Lincoln areas. We strongly urge the owner and/or manager of Leafty’s apartment complex to arrange for professional mold testing on a regular basis to protect the safety of their residents. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 402.819.4984.