Owners of The Bissel Apartments in Venice are asking Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian to dismiss a mold and fungus class action case filed against them last year, for failure to prosecute.

The April 2005 lawsuit alleged that the apartments had mold and fungal growth--penicillium and cladosporiumo--on surfaces and structures of the building that make up the complex located at 1400 Klein Ave. The class plaintiffs, former tenant Kesha Manning and plumber Claude Taylor, are represented by Alton attorney Lanny Darr

According to the complaint, the defendant--BA 2003 Limited Partnership and Independent Management Services--breached a duty under Illinois law to exercise ordinary care in the maintenance of the Bissel complex.

The plaintiffs, who claim they have suffered damages in an unknown amount, are asking the court to certify the claim as a class action, enter a judgment for compensatory damages to be determined, and award reasonable attorney fees and court costs as permitted by law.

Taylor claims that the apartment's management failed to protect non-residents from known risks to safety, health and property.

The complaint does not specify if any class members have incurred health problems.

In accordance with the new Class Action Fairness Act the plaintiffs stipulate that no class member is seeking damages in excess of $75,000 and the total amount of relief does not exceed $5 million, and all parties reside in Illinois.

The Bissel Apartments house at least 25 individuals, the complaint states.

The hearing was originally set for Dec. 20, but Matoesian moved the hearing to Jan. 13, when attorneys for both sides were unavailable.

Troy Bozarth of Edwardsville and Matt Jacober of St. Louis represent the apartment complex.

On June 29, 2005, the apartment owners also filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. However, they have not had the opportunity to argue the motion before Matoesian.

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