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Carpet Monsters and Killer SporesA Natural History of Toxic Mold$
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Nicholas P. Money

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195172270

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172270.001.0001

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Your Verdict, Please

Your Verdict, Please

(p.94) 6 Your Verdict, Please
Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores

Nicholas P. Money

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on litigation related to instances of mold contamination. In 2001, a Texas jury awarded $32 million to homeowner Melinda Ballard in settlement of her suit against Farmers Insurance Group. The jury held Farmers responsible for multiple failures in settling an insurance claim to rectify water damage that had led to mold proliferation. This case stimulated a great deal of media coverage of indoor molds and many high profile lawsuits followed. Subsequently, insurance policies were rewritten to exclude most mold claims, but a new industry of “mold identification and remediation” emerged to meet the demands of homeowners concerned about indoor molds. It is argued that until researchers reach a consensus upon the health impact of indoor molds, consumers should avoid exposure to high concentrations of spores in severely contaminated buildings, but remain skeptical about the risks posed by patches of mold growth that can be found in most homes.

Keywords:   Texas, jury, Melinda Ballard, insurance, mold identification, mold remediation

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