Mold claim against Venice apartments hints of class action

Steve Korris Apr. 25, 2008, 6:18am

Claude Taylor, who last year dismissed a suit alleging that owners and managers of Bissell Apartments in Venice injured him with mold, has filed suit alleging that owners and managers of Bissell Apartments injured him with mold.

"This is a re-filed action after a voluntary dismissal," Scott Morgan of Chicago wrote in an April 10 complaint.

Morgan, like Jackson's previous attorney Lanny Darr of Godfrey, did not state where Jackson lives, what he was doing at Bissell Apartments, or how mold injured him.

Morgan simply asserts that Jackson was present and adds a comment that the apartments host non-resident visitors such as guests or contractors.

Jackson seeks damages from property owner BA-2003 Limited Partnership and property manager Independent Management Services.

He also seeks damages from former owner Bissel Apartments Limited, which sold the property in 2004, and former manager Westmark Management.

Morgan wrote, "The Bissel Apartments, at the time of the filing of this complaint, and for a considerable period prior thereto, were infested with mold and fungal growth."

At all times, Morgan wrote, mold was on surfaces and in the air.

Jackson presented similar claims in 2005, as Darr's client in a proposed class action.

Darr sought to certify Jackson and Bissell resident Kesha Manning as representatives of all persons who suffered damage from mold.

Under Darr's plan, Manning would have represented residents and Jackson would have represented everyone else who set foot on the property.

When Jackson dropped out, Darr dropped personal injury claims and sought recovery on behalf of the proposed class for property damage alone.

Last fall, Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian granted summary judgment against Manning.

Darr moved to vacate the judgment, and Matoesian denied the motion.

Darr petitioned for review at the Fifth District appellate court in Mount Vernon, where his petition remains pending.

Morgan's new complaint does not propose a class action but it hints at one.

It says Westmark breached its duty of care to Jackson "and all class members."

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