An actress who appeared in the film “Marriage Story” and her husband have filed a lawsuit against Princess Cruises, alleging that they suffered such “horrific” exposure to bedbugs during a recent cruise that the woman had to be hospitalized for treatment.
“Marriage Story” actor Connie Flores and her husband Alvin Flores have claimed that they were attacked by the pesky critters during a November cruise from Los Angeles to Mexico, NBC San Diego reports. The couple were traveling on the Emerald Princess ship to celebrate their anniversary over Thanksgiving weekend.
Connie Marie Flores arrives at the Premiere Of Netflix’s “Marriage Story” at DGA Theater on November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
The Flores’ said in a recent statement that the bugs “feasted” on them while they slept in an “infested” stateroom, sharing photos of their heads, arms and legs covered in red bumps.
“Imagine yourself on a cruise at sea with your stateroom infested with bedbugs. There was nowhere to go. We were trapped. We felt helpless. There were bedbugs coming out of the pillows and the mattress, we felt betrayed,” Connie claimed.
An image the aftermath from of the alleged bedbug attack. (My Bed Bug Lawyer)
The couple said that they notified the on-board medical staff of the bedbug issue and demanded a relocation to a new room, but the Princess Cruises employees delayed their urgent request.
“They simply were negligent in providing safe premises,” said attorney Brian Virag, founder of the law firm My Bed Bug Lawyer, which is representing the couple in court.
Now, the Flores’ complaint seeks $75,000 in damages for financial loss and personal injury as well as emotional and mental distress in a jury trial, according to NBC.
An image of the aftermath from the alleged bedbug attack. (My Bed Bug Lawyer)
“This was a horrific experience, and no one should ever go through such pain and trauma,” Connie said. “This ordeal has prompted us to be advocates and bring awareness to people who have been exposed to bed bugs.”
A spokesperson for Princess Cruises told Fox News that the cruise line is “limited” regarding what information can be shared about the open suit, but maintained that their employees are “highly trained to identify bedbugs” in staterooms, which are “ALL thoroughly inspected” each month.
An image of the aftermath from the alleged bedbug attack. (My Bed Bug Lawyer)
“We were very sorry to hear about Ms. Flores concerns,” said a cruise line representative. “Princess Cruises is committed to following and often exceed stringent sanitation and health guidelines. Given that this is an open lawsuit, we are limited in what information we can share right now, however it is worth noting, our room attendants are highly trained to identify bedbugs and ALL staterooms are thoroughly inspected each month as a preventative measure.”
“By virtue of how the cruise vacation experience is designed our staterooms receive considerably more cleaning attention by our room attendants than a hotel room on land (twice a day, including evening turn-down service along with a thorough cleaning – including changing linen at the end of each cruise),” they said.
“It would be highly unusual for the presence of bedbugs to go un-noticed for more than the length of one cruise.”
Virag said in the statement that roughly one in every five Americans has either personally experienced bedbugs or knows someone who has.
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM, the nation’s leading law firm for Bed Bug Litigation has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Connie Flores and her husband Alvin, against Princess Cruises Line over the couple’s horrific exposure in a stateroom infested by bed bugs during a recent cruise from Los Angeles to Mexico. Connie Flores is an actress who has recently appeared in the Oscar Nominated Netflix film Marriage Story.
“Imagine yourself on a cruise at sea with your stateroom infested with bed bugs. There was nowhere to go. We were trapped. We felt helpless. There were bed bugs coming out of the pillows and the mattress, we felt betrayed,” said Mrs. Flores.
Blood can be seen on the pillows while bed bugs crawl under the mattress, as shown by the video the couple recorded. The bed bugs feasted on Connie and her husband as they slept. The bites were so severe that it landed Mrs. Flores in the hospital. Her husband remains traumatized by the entire incident, said Brian Virag, Founder of MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM.
The emotional suffering, however, continues to be the bigger nightmare for our clients. They continue to relive waking up in the middle of the night imagining bed bugs sucking the blood from their body as they slept, added Virag.
“After this ordeal, I wanted to advocate and bring awareness to people who get exposed to bed bugs. No one should have to go through what we experienced,” said Mrs. Flores.
According to the lawsuit filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles (Case Number 2:19cv09961) by MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM and Law Offices of Aksana Coone (maritime cruise ship injury attorney), the cruise ship knew or should have known of the bed bug infestation and simply failed to protect its passengers from physical and emotional harm. The lawsuit also alleges that the cruise ship’s policies and procedures were inadequate in maintaining the safety of their guests. “They simply were negligent in providing safe premises,” said Virag.
According to Virag, about one in every five Americans has either experienced or knows someone who has experienced bed bugs.
MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM is the only law firm that specializes exclusively in bed bug litigation and has lawsuits pending against Disneyland, the Queen Mary and represents Brazilian Supermodel Sabrina Jales against Hilton Hotels. Virag and his firm have obtained the largest jury verdicts ever recorded in US History for victims of bed bug exposure.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Staten Islanders residing in developments operated by the New York City Housing Authority filed nearly 2,000 bedbug and roach complaints in the first nine months of last year.
NYCHA data obtained by the Legal Aid Society shows nearly 60,000 such complaints across the city in the same time period. On average, those complaints were closed within 10 days — something the Legal Aid Society’s Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit Judith Goldiner pointed to as good news.
“The high number of work orders filed by NYCHA residents to remediate insect infestation within their homes is indeed troubling,” she said. “But it is telling that NYCHA has been able to fully close the majority of these complaints without significant delay. This is a clear byproduct of more staff on the ground and resources.”
To continue addressing the issue and others facing NYCHA tenants, Goldiner called for more funding for the authority, particularly on the state level.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/South Brooklyn) has advocated for tenants with both city and federal officials. In March, she was accompanied by the regional director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Lynn Patton, for a tour of the New Lane Area and South Beach NYCHA developments.
“In the 2018-2019 State Budget, we invested $250 million to improve conditions at NYCHA including mold, lead, bug infestation,” Malliotakis wrote in an email Monday. “The real question is what is NYCHA doing with the money because we can’t keep throwing more money into a blackhole.”
State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) echoed Malliotakis’ concerns about NYCHA management. Neither elected official said whether they would heed the call for more state funding to the housing authority.
“My colleagues and I, year after year, led the charge for increased funding for NYCHA,” Savino said. “This is a continuous management problem — just like with mold and faulty pipes. NYCHA needs to take these quality of life and health issues more seriously.”
Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island) said he believes the insect infestations are “emblematic of decades-old challenges facing the housing complexes.”
“While I am encouraged that NYCHA has decreased the time it takes to address these infestations, I will continue to support increased funding and accountability for NYCHA in Albany,” he said.
Up until Sept. 4, Staten Islanders residing in NYCHA developments filed 1,839 complaints, and had average wait times of about eight days. Of those complaints, 143 were for bedbugs, according to the data.
The 693-apartment Stapleton Houses, the borough’s largest development, had the most complaints logged with 504, 15 of which were for bedbugs, according to the data shared by the Legal Aid Society. Geraldine Parker, the president of the Stapleton Houses Tenant Association, declined comment.
Both the Cassidy-Lafayette and South Beach NYCHA developments had high levels of bedbug complaints. Of the 119 complaints at Cassidy-Lafayette, 40 were for bedbugs. Of the 188 complaints at South Beach, 35 were for bedbugs.
The remainder of the borough’s NYCHA developments had the following numbers:
Berry — 169 complaints, 9 for bedbugs
Mariners Harbor — 176 complaints, 11 for bedbugs
New Lane Area — 102 complaints, 11 for bedbugs
Richmond Terrace — 187 complaints, one for bedbugs
Todt Hill — 189 complaints, 10 for bedbugs
West Brighton I & II — 205 complaints, 11 for bedbugs
State Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) said he would consider increased state funding, but that NYCHA would first need to prove that management of its facilities is “on the right track.”
A NYCHA spokeswoman said their internal numbers show improvements to closed bedbug and roach work orders, and the time it takes to close bedbug orders, something she attributed to its new Integrated Pest Management system.
However, that system has also contributed to the increased wait time for roach complaints. Visits take longer, but result in fewer complaints due to increased prevention efforts, according to NYCHA.
Instead of simply spraying for roaches, exterminators are taking more care at developments by looking for holes, caulking and vacuuming. Bedbug wait times were not affected by these changes, because NYCHA treats them and rats as emergencies.
“NYCHA is working closely with the Federal Monitor on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and a Pest Action Plan, as per the January 2019 agreement,” NYCHA spokeswoman Rochel Leah Goldblatt said.
“NYCHA lacked the resources to adequately address many issues in its aging housing portfolio, including pests, due to years of federal disinvestment.”
In January 2019, the city reached a deal with HUD that allowed the department to install a monitor overseeing NYCHA’s management and required the city to make an additional investment of $2 billion over five years.
City estimates have put NYCHA’s capital need just over $30 billion.
Assemblyman Charles Fall (D-North Shore) said financial support is needed from all levels of government.
“No one wants their mother, brother, or child living in the horrendous conditions that are described by NYCHA residents; nor should we as elected officials want this for our constituents,” Fall said.
“Furthermore, we must ensure that NYCHA is held accountable; meaning all funds must be allocated sensibly and utilized to dramatically transform the shameful living conditions residents continue to describe.”
MIAMI, FL — It’s the two words no homeowners want to hear: bed bugs. Orkin, the pest control and protection service, recently released its annual rankings of the 50 most bed bug-treated cities in the nation, and Miami finished in 32nd place.It’s good/bad news for our city as Miami improved from its 35th ranking on last year’s list. Tampa ranked 34th and Orlando ranked 36th.
The rankings were based on metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2019. Both residential and commercial treatments were included.
For the last three years, Baltimore was the No. 1 city in the nation for bed bugs; but its nearby neighbor, Washington, D.C., took the top spot in 2020.
Here are the top 10 cities overall:
“While bed bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households,” said Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist who was referenced in a press release for the rankings. “They are excellent hitchhikers, and they reproduce quickly, which make it nearly impossible to prevent bed bugs.”
A description for the blood-sucking bugs on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website sounds like something from a Stephen King novel: “parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep.”
The reddish-brown bugs are typically 4 to 5 millimeters in length, or the size of Abraham Lincoln’s head on a penny. The creatures are also known for multiplying incredibly quickly, as females can deposit one to five eggs a day in the right conditions.
Orkin provides a range of tips to prevent bed bugs from inhabiting your home.
Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check the places where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress tags and seams, and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets and picture frames.
Decrease clutter around your home to make it easier to spot bed bugs on your own or during professional inspections.
Inspect your residence regularly — when you move in, after a trip, when a service worker visits or after guests stay overnight.
Examine all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home. This is a common way for bed bugs to be introduced into homes.
Wash and dry your bed linens often, using the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.
Baltimore was ranked No. 1 for three straight years before falling to No. 2 on Orkin’s annual list this year, according to a Monday news release from the company. Washington was ranked No. 2 last year.
Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin staff entomologist, tells U.S. News that Washington and Baltimore were “probably pretty close last year.” Possible reasons for the two cities consistently being ranked so high are their size and the amount of domestic and international travel in and out of them, she said.
“The more people you have, the more prevalent these pests can be,” Hartzer adds.
A bed bugs-focused information page on Washington’s Department of Health website notes that the insects were extinct decades ago, but that an increase in global travel and the discontinued use of “caustic” insecticides due to healthy-living initiatives have allowed the pests to have a resurgence.
“Now, our nation is much more habitable for the bed bugs,” according to the webpage.
The office of Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser did not respond to a request for comment from U.S. News.
Orkin bases its list on data from the 50 metro areas where it performed the most best bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2018 to Nov. 30, 2019. Rounding out the top 10 were Chicago; Los Angeles; Columbus, Ohio; New York; Detroit; Cincinnati; Indianapolis and Atlanta.
“While bed bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households,” Hartzer said in a written statement. “They are excellent hitchhikers, and they reproduce quickly which make it nearly impossible to prevent bed bugs. Sanitation has nothing to do with where you’ll find them.”
In its news release, Orkin warned that signs of bed bugs could include “small black spots indicating bed bug feces or nymph bed bugs in places such as mattress seams, bed frames and furniture.” The company recommended that people inspect their homes regularly, decrease clutter, examine secondhand furniture and frequently wash bed linens with hot water.
“The key to preventing a bed bug infestation is early detection,” Hartzer added in the release. “When one or more bed bugs enter a space, we call it an introduction. During an introduction, bed bugs probably haven’t started reproducing yet, but they could soon. Vigilance is key to stopping bed bugs before infestation levels.”
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS|JAN 12, 2020 |by Michael Gartland
The Grant Houses in Harlem had the most overall creepy crawler complaints with 981 — 877 of which were for roaches. (New York Daily News Illustration)
Welcome to Bed Bug City.
Over the last two years, New York City Housing Authority residents filed approximately 200,000 complaints pleading for relief from bedbug and roach infestations, NYCHA data shows.
The Grant Houses in Harlem had the most overall creepy complaints over the first nine months of 2019 with 1,000 — 894 of which were for roaches.
The Pomonok Houses in Queens had the highest number of bedbug work orders during that period at 156. The Wagner Houses and Grant Houses didn’t trail far behind with 129 and 106 bedbug jobs for each complex respectively.
The statistics on roach and bedbug complaints between Jan. and Sept. 2019 came through a Freedom of Information request filed with NYCHA by the Legal Aid Society, which shared the data with the Daily News. The agency also shared data on insect complaints from 2018.
Tyrone Bell, tenant association president at the St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem, said people haven’t complained to him about bedbugs, but he wasn’t surprised that his complex had the 5th highest number of gripes, given other issues there like rats, mold and faulty elevators.
“There are plenty of problems,” he said. “This development needs a lot of work.”
Judith Goldiner, Legal Aid’s attorney-in-charge of civil law reform, described the number of infestation work orders as “troubling,” and cited it as just another reason she and others are calling on Albany to put $2 billion in additional funding toward NYCHA.
The bug numbers were not all bad news though, according to Goldiner.
On average it took NYCHA about nine days to fully address the complaints — a detail she views as a good sign.
“This is a clear byproduct of more staff on the ground and resources,” she explained. “With the legislature now in session, we again call for increased funding for public housing authorities to address these problems and others facing tenants.”
A NYCHA spokeswoman pointed to a downward trend over the last two years when it comes to critter complaints, noting that the authority has hired 20 new exterminators over the last year.
Bedbug beefs dipped from 12,220 in 2018 to 10,343 in 2019; and closed work orders for roaches dipped from 87,400 in 2018 to 84,516 last year. The time it took, on average, to address bedbugs also went down from 13.3 days in 2018 to 9.7 days in 2019, but roach complaints took slightly longer in 2019, about a day more on average.
“Our trends show an improvement in closed bedbug and roach work orders,” said NYCHA spokeswoman Rochel Goldblatt. She noted that the longer times for roach remediation stem from NYCHA’s new Integrated Pest Management system, which places an emphasis on more than band-aid solutions.
Instead of spraying for roaches, exterminators are looking for holes, caulking and vacuuming,” she said. “The bedbugs weren’t affected by the above trend because we treat them like an emergency and try to schedule them as soon as possible. This was updated in our system in July 2019, making rats and bedbugs a higher priority.”
The advocates’ ask for more state cash — at the beginning of this Albany legislative session — is part of a broader push to increase NYCHA funding. Tenant advocates are also demanding a $1 billion increase in NYCHA funding in the city budget and a $6 billion increase on the federal level.
Fiscal hawks describe such outlays as ill-advised given NYCHA’s track record of wasteful spending.
“NYCHA hasn’t been fundamentally reformed,” said E.J. McMahon, research director for the Empire Center for Public Policy.
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D- Brooklyn) agreed, but only so much. He said NYCHA deserves blame for past fiscal mismanagement, but added that it doesn’t mean government should continue to underfund it.
He pointed out that $2 billion is just a fraction of the more than $30 billion NYCHA now needs.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS|JAN 10, 2020 |by Storm Gifford
Bedbugs, usually thought of as an American nuisance, are driving Parisians crazy with their appearance in hotels.
The pests, known as punaises de lit in France, are causing financial losses upwards of millions of euros for business owners in the French capital.
One Paris hotel group conceded that even ritzy hotels are falling victim to the pests — and the problem is worsening.
“It’s traumatizing hotel managers. We talk about it among ourselves, but timidly,” Jean-Marc D’Orx, the general president of a French hotel union, told Le Parisien. “The hotelier is a victim in this kind of case. It’s not that the hotel is dirty, but it has welcomed people who have brought the bedbugs with them.”
The number of reported bedbug cases in the nation has ballooned from 180,000 to 4000,000 in two short years, reported The Local.
And in 2018, there were 100,000 bedbug infestations just in Paris alone, according to the French Union for Pest Control.
Fearing massive financial losses and bad reputations, hotel managers also must shutter their establishments until the arrival of new beds and pest controls carry out inspections.
Bedbugs, usually only just 7 millimeters long, crave human blood. Bites can result in allergic reactions, skin rashes, and in some cases, psychological trauma.
One TripAdvisor commenter, who allegedly stayed at a Paris hotel in November, stated, “Bedbugs, no handling of the matter and no treatment. You’re better off sleeping in your car.”
It’s not uncommon to have an occasional influx of bedbugs at a motel. But at a Walmart?
That’s exactly what police in northwestern Pennsylvania are investigating after several of the creepy critters were found crawling around a Walmart men’s fitting room. Pill bottles containing the bugs were also found in the store.
Law enforcement officers believe the bugs were deliberately released into the Walmart near Erie. The motive isn’t known.
An employee at the Walmart in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, first found a closed pill bottle containing live bed bugs on Thursday, police said. The bottle was found inside a boy’s jacket, which was for sale.
The jacket was “disposed of” according to police, and Ecolab, a company focused on “clean water, safe food and healthy environments,” according to its website, came to the Walmart the next day. An Ecolab employee found and identified the bed begs in the men’s fitting room.
Police were alerted after a second closed pill bottle was found on Saturday. The second bottle contained several dead bed bugs and was found in the men’s department, near the belts, according to police.
“Our third-party pest management service has visited the store, and after conducting a thorough review found no evidence of an infestation,” a Walmart spokesperson said in an email to USA TODAY.
“We believe this to be an isolated incident and are taking all the necessary steps to help ensure a safe environment for customers and associates. We will continue working with law enforcement as they conduct their investigation.”
The second bottle found at the store has been submitted for forensic analysis, according to police. Surveillance video from the store is also under review. Police said Walmart verified the incident was “isolated” after reaching out to other stores in the area.
Bed bugs can be found worldwide, according to the CDC. They don’t spread disease, can live for “several months” without feeding and aren’t considered dangerous, but can infest areas where people sleep and their bites can trigger serious allergic reactions, the CDC says.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed HB19-1328, a new bed bug law which requires a tenant to promptly notify the landlord via written or electronic notice when the tenant knows or reasonably suspects that the tenant’s dwelling unit contains bed bugs.
Not more than 96 hours after receiving notice, a landlord in most circumstances must hire a pest management professional to inspect and treat the dwelling unit and any contiguous dwelling units for bed bugs. Except as otherwise provided, a landlord is responsible for all costs associated with mitigating bed bugs.
The provisions in the measure are:
A tenant who gives a landlord electronic notice of a condition must now send such notice only to the email address, telephone number, or electronic portal specified by the landlord in the rental agreement for communications. In the absence of such a provision in the rental agreement, the tenant shall communicate with the landlord in a manner that the landlord has previously used to communicate with the tenant. The tenant shall retain sufficient proof of the delivery of the electronic notice.
Not more than 96 hours after receiving notice of the presence or possible presence of bed bugs, a landlord (a) must inspect or obtain an inspection by a qualified inspector of the dwelling unit, and (b) may enter the unit or any contiguous unit for the purpose of conducting the inspection.
If the inspection of a dwelling unit confirms the presence of bed bugs, the landlord is also then under obligation to perform an inspection of all contiguous dwelling units as promptly as is reasonably practical.
Except as otherwise provided, a landlord is responsible for all costs associated with inspection for, and treatment of, the presence of bed bugs.
If a landlord, qualified inspector, or pest control agent must enter a dwelling unit for the purpose of conducting an inspection for, or treating the presence of, bed bugs, the landlord shall provide the tenant reasonable written or electronic notice of such fact before the landlord, qualified inspector, or pest control agent attempts to enter the dwelling unit. A tenant who receives the notice shall not unreasonably deny the landlord, qualified inspector, or pest control agent access to the dwelling unit.
A tenant shall comply with reasonable measures to permit the inspection for, and treatment of, the presence of bed bugs, and the tenant is responsible for all costs associated with preparing the tenant’s dwelling unit for inspection and treatment. A tenant who knowingly and unreasonably fails to comply with inspection and treatment requirements is liable for the cost of subsequent bed-bug treatments of the dwelling unit and contiguous units if the need for the treatments arises from the tenant’s noncompliance.
If any furniture, clothing, equipment, or personal property belonging to a tenant is found to contain bed bugs, the qualified inspector shall advise the tenant that the furniture, clothing, equipment, or personal property should not be removed from the dwelling unit until a pest-control agent determines that a bed-bug treatment has been completed. The tenant shall not dispose of personal property that was determined to contain bed bugs in any common area where such disposal may risk the infestation of other dwelling units.