Jacksonville mom says apartment mold, asbestos caused son’s asthma death – Village of Baymeadows Apartments

McGrady said she complained about mold, but the complex did nothing until after her son died. Even then, she said, she wasn’t told the reason for the cleaning.

By Paul Pinkham
Oct. 16, 2009

Michele McGrady said she chose her Jacksonville apartment carefully back in 2006.

She wanted the best neighborhood and the best schools for her children. Two years later, she began questioning that decision after her 12-year-old son, Darius Thompson, died mysteriously one night in his bedroom.

An autopsy concluded the sixth-grader suffered a fatal asthma attack that McGrady says was triggered by either mold, asbestos or both. She filed a wrongful death lawsuit last month, accusing the apartment owner of negligently failing to keep the property safe and warn residents.

“I thought the Village of Baymeadows would be the best,” McGrady said Thursday at her lawyer’s office. “I feel like I failed.”

Lawyers for the complex’s owners in Texas replied in court that Thompson’s death was unforeseeable and the result of a pre-existing condition. They said the conditions McGrady complained about didn’t exist long enough for their client to know and the apartment manager never was told of the conditions.

They didn’t return phone calls or e-mails Thursday.

McGrady said her son hadn’t had any asthma symptoms in six years, so his death was a shock. She recalled him kissing her and her husband good night like he always did, then failing to wake the next morning when his alarm went off. That was odd, she said, because he was a light sleeper who was excited about being in middle school.

She said he felt cold when she went to rouse him, and her first thought was to turn down the air conditioner. She said she never imagined he could be dead.

“There was just no warning whatsoever,” she said.

McGrady’s attorney, Mike Roberts, said the family experienced flooding in their apartment shortly after moving in. The complex wouldn’t let them out of their lease, but allowed them to move to a different unit. That apartment, too, experienced flooding, Roberts said.

Additionally, he said McGrady learned several months after her son’s death, when her neighbors moved out, that they had asbestos in their apartment. The Village of Baymeadows was built in 1969, property records show.

McGrady said she complained about mold, but the complex did nothing until after her son died. Even then, she said, she wasn’t told the reason for the cleaning.

She said she asked the apartment manager if her son’s death could have been triggered by mold or asbestos and was told: “That wouldn’t have had anything to do with it.”

“I believed them,” she said, explaining why the family renewed their lease. She said it expires next month and they will be moving.

Roberts said he realizes proving the mold or asbestos caused the asthma attack won’t be easy. He is still collecting evidence from medical experts, but he said apartment owners need to realize the cost of cleaning up mold and asbestos is far less expensive than ignoring it.

“As our apartment complexes get older, the owners and landlords have to take responsibility,” he said. “Asbestos and mold aren’t nuisances to be swept under the rug.”

McGrady described her son as a helpful boy who was learning to play baseball, loved his family and his church and wanted to be a veterinarian when he grew up.

“Our house is very quiet now,” she said.

jacksonville.com

apartmentratings.com -Jacksonville-Villages of Baymeadows

Note – Information on Riverstone Residential knowingly exposing tenants to extreme amounts of mold toxins at Toxic Mold Infested Jefferson Lakes Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  katy

Toxic Mold Infested Jefferson Lakes Apartments managed by Riverstone Residential

Riverstone Residential Litigation

Mold Inspection Reports

Photos of Mold in Apartment

 
This entry was posted in Environmental Health Threats, Health - Medical - Science, Mold and Politics, Mold Litigation, Toxic Mold and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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