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    Post: Former owners of Madison Twp. home awarded $4.3 million

    Posted by Sharon on 10/23/10


    A Lackawanna County jury awarded the former owners of a
    Madison Twp. "dream" home $4.3 million for a mold problem
    they said was caused by a township road project on Nashotka
    Road.

    The jury deliberated about 6 hours over two days before
    finding in favor of Teresa Perrini and Theresa Koziell and
    against the township and Hanson Aggregates.

    In assessing who was responsible for what happened to the
    property, the jury assigned 76 percent negligence to the
    township board of supervisors and 24 percent to Hanson
    Aggregates.

    In breaking down the damages, the amount the jury awarded
    for actual property loss amounted to slightly more than
    $450,000, which is just a portion of the total amount
    awarded for damages.

    The jury awarded Ms. Perrini and Ms. Koziell more than $3.4
    million, combined, for past and future post-traumatic
    stress disorder and loss of life's pleasures in the use of
    the property.

    Ms. Perrini and Ms. Koziell moved into the home in 1996 and
    began making improvements to what they called their dream
    house.

    They added a deck and planted gardens and fruit trees on
    the 3-acre property.

    Their dream home turned into a moldy nightmare, which
    according to their lawsuit, arose from a township road
    improvement project completed in November 2002 that caused
    water to drain onto the property.

    The gardens died; the driveway cracked; the septic system
    failed, and the well turned muddy.

    The township claimed the water problems on the property
    were not caused by the roadwork but by the fact the home
    was 11 feet below the road.

    The two women later moved out of the house, fearing for
    their health after learning it contained more than five
    different types of mold, one of which was stachybotrys,
    a "toxic" mold. The two women hired an environmental
    investigator to look at the home.

    "I've never seen a house like this," said Laurence Molloy,
    a New York City-based environmental investigator in a 2005
    interview. "Basically, you have a house sitting in a lake."

    The women, through their attorney, Nicholas Fick, sued in
    December 2003, after seeing no progress to get the problem
    fixed.

    Mr. Fick declined to comment Friday after the verdict was
    returned.

    Judge Carmen Minora presided over the 14-day trial.

    Contact the writer: jmcdonald@timesshamrock.com

    $4.3M Mold Jury Verdict

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