Large apartment complex infested with bedbugs for years. $3.5M. Los Angeles County

Summary

Multiple tenants at large apartment complex claim bedbug infestations.

The Case

  • Case Name: Hsu et al. V. PLB Management LLC
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC496349
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, December 14, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
  • Type of Action: Breach of Contract, Landlord-Tenant Issues, Negligence, Highlighted Verdicts
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Mark Mooney
  • Plaintiffs:
    Vivian Hsu; Dmitriy Kozin; individually and as Guardian Ad Litem for David Kozin; Likun Lin; Alla Shmulevich; Alexander Shmulevich; Lee Ellis; Justine Poon; Abraham Bernato; Guillerma Bernato; Aitika Kimble; Jason Stewart; Ayal Erlich;
    Mingming Yan;, Philip Suhr, individually and as Guardian Ad Litem for Coby Suhr; and Fumi Suhr
  • Defendants:
    PLB Management LLC
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $3,538,311. The jury found PLB Management negligent and in breach of contract for their handling of the bedbug situation.
  • Net Verdict or Award: $3,417,616.50
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    For plaintiffs who recieved money damages, the jury returned verdicts ranging from $77,000 to $850,000 for each unit that had been exposed.

    1) Plaintiff Ayal Erlich in the amount of $43,775 against defendant PLB Management LLC. 2) Plaintiff, Mingming Yan the amount of $34,000 against defendant, PLB Management LLC. 3) Plaintiff, Alla Schmulevich the amount of $310,582 against defendant PLB Management LLC. The jury also found plaintiff ALLA SCHMULAVICH 25% contributory negligent. 4) Plaintiff, Alex Schmulevich in the amount of $172,200 against defendant PLB Management LLC. The jury also found plaintiff Alex Schmulevich 25% contributory negligent. 5) Plaintiff Lee Ellis in the amount of $266,668 against defendant PLB Management LLC. 6) Plaintiff Justine Poon in the amount of $300,688 against defendant, PLB Management LLC. 7) Plaintiff Arika Kimble in the amount of $299,650 against defendant PLB Management LLC. 8) Plaintiff, Jason Stewart in the amount of $280,000 against defendant, PLB Management LLC. 9) Plaintiff Dimitry Kozin in the amount of $126,700 against defendant PLB Management LLC. 10) Plaintiff, Linkun Lin in the amount of $304,950 against defendant, PLB Management LLC. 11) Plaintiff Philip Suhr in the amount of $111,748.00 against defendant PLB Management LLC. 12) Plaintiff, Fumi Suhr in the amount of $256,000 against defendant, PLB Management LLC. 13) Plaintiff Vivian Hsu in the amount of $181,150.00 against defendant PLB Management LLC. 14) Plaintiff, Abraham Bernato in the amount of $380,000 against defendant, PLB Management LLC. 15) Plaintiff Guillermina Bernato in the amount of $470,200 against defendant PLB Management LLC.

    Per defense counsel: Three additional plaintiffs who did not receive money damages: Plaintiff Kyle Johnson’s claims were dismissed by Motion for Non-Suit and received no recovery. Plaintiff David Kozin’s claims were dismissed by Motion for Non-Suit and received no recovery. Plaintiff Ethan Erlich received no award of damages from the jury. Plaintiff Coby Suhr received no award of damages from the jury.

  • Economic Damages:

    $120,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $3,300,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: Approximately 1 month.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 5 days.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    MyBedBugLawyer, Inc. by Brian Virag, Encino.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Sedgwick LLP by Steven DiSaia, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Raphael Darvish, M.D., dermatology, Los Angeles.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    None.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Richard Kaae, Ph.D., entomology, Huntington Beach.

    Steven Cohen, property management, Santa Monica.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Allan Snyder, pest control, Aliso Viejo.

    Steve Donell, property management, Los Angeles.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Park LaBrea is the largest apartment complex west of the Mississippi with more than 4200 apartment units. Sixteen current and former residents of Park LaBrea who occupied 8 different units at the Park LaBrea Community claimed to have been exposed to bedbugs between 2011 and 2013. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant failed to warn of bedbug infestations at the property, failed to adequately address the problem and failed to follow recommendations of a pest control operator.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That PLB Management acted reasonably and within the standard of care in addressing the complaints related to bedbugs. Experts have reported the resurgence of bedbugs in America, which is why Park La Brea hires certified specialists who use industry-leading techniques to control the spread of bedbugs. All recommendations made by those specialists were followed to address resident concerns.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Bites, rashes, itchiness.

  • Emotional distress, sleeplessness, anxiety and humiliation in having to live with bedbugs.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $2,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: None.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $4,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None.

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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