Store sells consumers bunk beds infested with bedbugs

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Case in Point

June 12, 2012

Store sells consumers bunk beds infested with bedbugs 

The plaintiffs alleged strict liability, breach of warranty, negligence, and violation of the state consumer protection act. The store stipulated to liability, and the jury awarded $225,000. Jackson v. Calidad Furniture & Linen, Inc.

Adarien Jackson bought twin bunk beds with mattresses from Calidad Furniture & Linen, Inc., for her 6-year-old twin sons. Soon after the beds and mattresses were delivered, one boy began complaining of itchy bumps on his ankles, back, and head. A few months later, the other child began waking in the night screaming that bugs were crawling on him. Jackson later discovered bedbugs concentrated in clumps on the beds’ wood frames beneath the mattresses.

Both boys suffered multiple bites and skin rashes. In addition, Jackson and her sons suffered emotional distress over the incident. The boys’ past medical expenses totaled about $1,000.

Jackson, individually and on behalf of her sons, sued the store, alleging strict liability, breach of warranty, negligence, and violation of the state consumer protection act. The plaintiffs contended that the beds were infested with bedbugs when the store sold them.

After the store stipulated to liability, the trial court entered a consent decree granting the plaintiffs partial summary judgment on liability. About three weeks before trial, the store’s insurer retained new counsel and moved to vacate the stipulation, but the trial court denied the motion, and the case went to the jury on damages.

The jury awarded $225,000, including $125,000 to one boy and $50,000 each to Jackson and the other child.

The defendant has appealed the trial court’s refusal to vacate the stipulation and summary judgment.

Citation: Jackson v. Calidad Furniture & Linen, Inc., No. 02C10157321 (Md., Anne Arundel Co. Cir. Mar. 8, 2012).

Plaintiff counsel: Daniel W. Whitney and Jeffrey C. Shipley, both of Towson, Md.


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