Kelly Holleran Jun. 27, 2013, 11:20am

The mother of a minor girl claims she and her daughter had to visit the hospital numerous times after they suffered from heat exhaustion and insect bites while living in their Granite City apartment.

Rhonda S. Wilkerson filed a lawsuit June 21 in Madison County Circuit Court against Kingdom Management and Investments, Kevin L. Cann, Jeremy Plank and Tiffany Plank.

The Planks are listed as owners of the property. Jeremy Plank is deputy treasurer in Madison County.

In her complaint, Wilkerson alleges she and her daughter, Katelyn Loy, began experiencing chest pain and symptoms of heat exhaustion after the defendants removed a fuse from their apartment’s air conditioner, rendering it inoperable. As a result, Wilkerson and Loy were transported to St. Anthony’s Hospital by Emergency Medical Services on July 5, according to the complaint.

Because of his concern of the lack of air conditioning in Wilkerson’s apartment at 24A Eastgate Dr. in Granite City, the doctor ordered Wilkerson and Loy to follow up with their doctor and provided them with a list of community cooling stations, the suit states. The Department of Child and Family Services also checked on Loy after doctors reported possible neglect, which was proven unfounded two weeks later, the complaint says.

Not only did the apartment have cooling issues, but it also was infested with ants, spiders and other insects, Wilkerson claims.

“The plaintiff received approximately 30 bites from various spiders and insects,” the suit states. “The plaintiff sought medical treatment from these bites on at least one occasion.”

Because of her landlords’ actions, Wilkerson experienced physical pain, suffering and mental anguish and an impaired ability to enjoy life activities, the complaint says.

Wilkerson blames her landlords for contributing to her injuries, saying they failed to timely repair the air conditioning unit and failed to respond to her requests to exterminate the apartment.

She seeks actual damages of more than $2.25 million, plus punitive damages and costs.

Deborah A. Hawkins of Hawkins Law Office in Edwardsville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-1041.

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