Confidential Settlement – Toxic Tort — Sewage Backup in Apartment Causes Psychosis

Plaintiffs in this case were a husband and wife who developed skin disorders as a result of toxic substances that seeped into their apartment through a backed up sewage system. In addition to a severe skin disease, plaintiff wife became psychotic.

The landlord admitted that there was a problem with backed up sewage; however, denied that there was a toxic substance in the sewage and alleged that plaintiffs’ illnesses were unrelated to the sewage problem. On that basis, the landlord refused to offer anything to settle the case other than to clean up the plaintiffs’ apartment.

The law offices of Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, were hired and the law firm immediately retained a toxicologist who tested the apartment and ground near the apartment. The tests indicated that there were toxic substances present which were capable of causing skin disorders. The law firm then retained a psychologist who testified that although the toxic substances themselves did not cause the wife to become psychotic, the trauma of dealing with the skin disorder and the landlord had caused a breakdown.

RESULT: Confidential settlement on behalf of plaintiffs