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Navy family files lawsuit, claiming mold in housing made them sick

A Navy family has filed a lawsuit against the company that manages the Hampton Roads military housing units they live in. The family alleges that a severe mold infestation in their home has caused several ongoing health problems.

The $3.7 million lawsuit is the second mold-related suit that has been filed against Lincoln Military Housing to reach federal court in Norfolk. Lincoln manages around 4,400 rental units in the area in a public-private partnership with the military bases in Norfolk. At least five more cases are pending in state court.

In the most recent case, Natasha Chaparro and her husband, Petty Officer 2nd Class Angel Manuel Chaparro-Mendoza, claim that their family has been sick for almost two years. They say that severe mold growth was found in their townhouse, which is located near Norfolk Naval Station, and they believe that their family’s illness is directly related to the mold.

After the family filed several complaints, they were moved into temporary Navy housing while repairs were being made. They recently moved back into their house. A lawyer representing the management company said that the amount of mold in the family’s home was minimal and that Lincoln will defend itself against the allegations that have been made by the Chaparros’ to the full extent of the law.

Under the 1996 privatization initiative that aims to maintain and improve the military’s housing stock, Lincoln has a long-term lease agreement with the government, the families who are suing the Texas-based company claim that it operated with little to no oversight from local military commanders and was slow to respond to moisture and mold problems.

Within weeks of moving into their Noemfoor Avenue military home, the Chaparros, including their two young sons, have had to deal with water leaks, initially with a toilet and then with the dishwasher. In both cases, they claim that it took a week or longer for maintenance responded to the complaints they filed. They say that by the time maintenance did respond, the leaks had discolored and peeled the linoleum floors.

The Chaparros also allege that visible mold was growing on the ceiling in their dining room, as well as on the ceiling fan and in every vent in the house. It was also growing on their son’s crib, they said. The whole family become sick and had to visit the emergency room and doctors on several occasions.

According to Natasha Chaparro, the family thought they were suffering from allergies for about a year. She said that their symptoms were constant. Gabriel then began having seizures, which lasted about three to four minutes. A doctor couldn’t find a cause for the seizures and said that mold exposure was a possible culprit.

An inspection found severe mold growth in their townhouse.

Mold Inspection & Testing Norfolk has performed countless mold assessments in military housing units. We strongly urge Lincoln Military Housing to arrange for testing in all of their units to protect their residents. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 757.541.2991.

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