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Norfolk contractor sued by apartment complex over mold growth issues, but the attorney for the complex says there is no mold growth

The District, a company that owns an apartment complex near Old Dominion University, filed a lawsuit against a Norfolk contractor, citing mold growth, which the company claims has been caused by shoddy construction. The District states that the mold is endangering their investment, and more importantly, the health of the residents who live there.

The lawsuit states that moisture is getting trapped behind the exterior sheathing on the apartment building, which is causing structural damage to the exterior and interior of the building and has caused mold growth. The $4 million lawsuit was filed in Norfolk Circuit Court and was then transferred to federal court. The suit also states that those who reside in the 307-unit apartment complex on West 39th Street have been exposed to mold and could potentially be suffering from personal injuries.

Barry Dorans, a lawyer for the parent company of the apartment complex said that he referenced mold in the lawsuit as a precaution. Dorans said that a parent of one resident claimed that there might be mold problem; however, over the past year, the complex has found no evidence to substantiate that claim. He also added that The District, which opened in 2010, began repairing the façade of the building, and that approximately 20 percent of the work has been completed.

“We have not found any problems in the interior of any units,” said Dorans. He also said that the residents have no reason to fear for their health.

Norfolk Housing LLC, the parent company of The District, is suing Construction Enterprises Inc., the general contractor that constructed the apartment complex. The general contracting company is based in Tennessee. Attorneys for the contractor didn’t respond when a local news station contacted them.

Additional defendants that were listed in the lawsuit include Liberty Mutual Insurance, R.H. Tamlyn and Sons, Fortifiber Corp., and CertainTeed Corp.

Liberty Mutual issued a performance bond valued at $27 million for Construction Enterprises’ wok, and Tamlyn and Sons and Fortfiber and CertainTeed provided the metal trim, the weather-resistant barrier, and the fiber cement siding that were used for construction.

Initially, The District primarily served students at Old Dominion University; however, the university recently stopped steering students to the apartment complex as a result of several complaints.

In the first five years after it opened, more than 1,300 police and fire calls were made about the apartment. A kitchen fire in a fourth-floor unit of Building 1 triggered the sprinkler system in the complex. The water damaged the electrical system in the building and several apartments, which forced almost 200 residents to vacate their homes. The repairs took weeks to complete.

Dorans stated that he did not believe that the damage caused by the sprinkler lead to any additional issues that stemmed from the construction of the building.

Mold Inspection & Testing has performed countless mold assessments in Norfolk apartment complexes. We strongly urge the owners of The District to arrange for regular mold testing to confirm if the buildings are safe for residents. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 757.541.2991.

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