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.
THE IRISH SUN | by Danny de Vaal | December 10, 2019
A SWEDISH woman was treated for bed bugs after staying at a lavish city centre hotel in Dublin.
Sanja Manduric, from Lund in Sweden, forked out almost €350 ($389 USD) for a two night stay at Hotel Riu Plaza The Gresham on O’Connell Street while on a business trip.
The 54-year-old Swedish Board of Agriculture official was also planning on spending the weekend in Dublin with her daughter when her work commitments wrapped up but she was left in agony after waking up to 77 large red bites on her face and arms.
Sanja told the Irish Sun: “I picked the hotel because it had a great reputation.
“I never expected that something like this was going to happen.
“I have big marks on my face, my neck and my arms.
“I tried to show the managers and they were just like ‘No, no’.
“I travel a lot and I’ve never had an experience like this.”
‘I HAD 77 BITES’
Sanja booked the hotel for two nights and checked in on October 30 and stayed until November 1.
She was forced to spend €70 on a visit to the doctor and a further €30 on steroid tablets and cream.
Sanja, who left Dublin last month, said she had to work from home as she had large marks on her face.
She said: “The hotel was aware of what the problem was because there wasn’t a small infestation.
“I had 77 bites on me. I don’t know how many bed bugs there were in total but I saw several. I brought the manager up to the room to show him.”
‘WE TAKE MATTER VERY SERIOUSLY’
Sanja claimed the manager told her it looked like “something” but wasn’t sure because he “wasn’t a specialist”.
A spokeswoman for Riu Plaza The Gresham said: “Please let us assure you that the health and safety of our clients is our number one priority.
“We know of the case you refer to and please let us say that we take this matter very seriously.
“After the first notification, the hotel contacted its specialised partner and the result of the analysis conducted was negative.
“No bed bugs were found in the hotel. In any case, and as a gesture of goodwill, the belongings of the guest were treated via our cleaning partner and the luggage replaced.”
The Irish Sun then sent the hotel a video of a bed bug which Sanja filmed and requested a copy of the report from the pest company.
A spokeswoman then told us: “I’m sorry but we cannot share the report from the pest company, opinate about the video, nor give you further details.
“But we can tell you that we have had no other reports of this kind from any other guest staying either in this very bedroom nor in any of the other 339 guestrooms during these dates.
“Despite this, if there is the minimum suspicion, we activate the specific protocol to avoid any possible problem from spreading.”
NEWS 12 WWBT | by Kelly Avellino | December 10, 2019
RICHMOND, Va. – RPS officials confirm the first case surfaced in mid-November. Parents in the classroom were notified and the room impacted was treated. Now, several weeks later, more instances of bed bugs have been reported.
“I’m definitely thinking of keeping my child out of school, possibly, because I don’t want to take any chances of him bringing anything into the home,” said the parent.
This is not the first time RPS has combated a bed bug outbreak in its facilities, also treating MLK preschool earlier in the school year. At least seven schools were treated in 2016.
“It’s as easy as just sitting next to somebody and a bug crawling onto that child,” said Tres Bedell, owner of RVA Thermal Heat which specializes in eradicating bed bugs using heat of up to 145 degrees. “That (bug) could be a queen and have up to 50, 60 eggs. So, it happens extremely quickly.”
Bedell suggests carefully inspecting your child’s clothing before going inside the house. If possible, have your child change in the garage or another area first, putting their outer clothing worn at school in a pillowcase.
“Put (the clothing) in the pillowcase. Tie a knot. Throw it in the dryer at high heat for about an hour, and it’ll kill anything that’s on there,” said Bedell.
RPS is also helping families that may have bed bug issues in their homes.
Parents should call the main office at Overby-Sheppard Elementary School at (804) 329-2515.
It might be cute to hear a three-year old sing, “As snug as a bug in a rug,” but there’s nothing cute at all about having your home infested with bed bugs. But that’s what “Rudy” and his family dealt with in July, 2019 when their home became bed bug central.
“A pest control service got the infestation under control, but it was an expensive nightmare,” he explained during our telephone conversation. He had been on the phone to a number of attorneys wanting someone to file suit against the school district for the way a teacher and administrators dealt with his nine year old son who showed up at school with a bed bug on his jacket, the morning of October 8th.
After an absence of about 40 years, bed bugs have made a stunning worldwide return, and while it is rare for schools to become infested, still, in many parts of the country, finding even one bed bug on a student is considered as a public health emergency. All schools that receive federal funds must have extensive “What to do if” contingency plans in effect.
Taken to the Nurse’s Office
“From what my son, David, explained, as he walked into his classroom by the teacher, she spotted a bed bug on his jacket and immediately walked with him to the nurse’s office. While there, his jacket was removed, they lifted his shirt, examined his back and legs for evidence of bites or bugs themselves, but found none. Then, he was brought back to his classroom.”
You are probably thinking, “Thank goodness! That’s what they should have done! Why is the boy’s father upset?” That’s what I thought as well, and asked to speak with his son who also confirmed that everyone was nice to him.
“They all knew that we had bedbugs because I told my friends about the problem at home. It was really exciting!” this very polite, well-spoken nine year-old happily explained.
I Am going to Post the School’s Illegal Behavior!
However dad was furious, threatening to post what he felt was illegal conduct by all the people involved with David and the bed bug. But why? As the boy wasn’t harmed in the least, what had they done that was so wrong?
“They legally had the obligation of calling me first for permission to remove David’s coat or examine him! That’s what! I want a lawyer to sue them, and I’m going to post this on Facebook and other social media sites, listing all the names of those people.”
Well, not so fast, Rudy. In researching his school’s policy for dealing with bedbug issues, while it is required for a parent to be notified at some time, procedure calls for just what happened. They did the right thing. It is a public health concern where time is critical – so these little vampires don’t go looking for a human blood bank.
I asked Rudy if he thought about the consequences of posting what would amount to defamatory statements about these people. “What do you mean, consequences? Like getting them fired?”
“No,” I replied, “like getting yourself sued, creating a problem for your son down the road, and as such a suit would most likely be thrown out of court, still your names would remain out there forever, seen as troublemakers. Want to guess what I am thinking of?”
He had no idea.
Think Over Carefully Before Posting Anything Negative Online
I ran this all too common fact situation by two of our consultants for their evaluations:
–San Francisco-based attorney Richard Lutkus who is among a handful of lawyers in the country whose law practice concentrates on “cyber-security preparedness, data breach response, and data privacy.”
–California licensed private investigators, Riley and Jane Parker, who are the founders of Pre-Employment Profiles, LLC, a service for employers who need to vet would-be applicants.
“By posting false remarks online you are open to being sued for defamation, so assume that you cannot delete them ever. It is out there. Understand that whatever your write can be developed into a profile of who you are,” Lutkus points out, adding, “Just ask yourself–better yet, ask a friend–before posting something when you are angry–especially if it could be false–‘How could this come back and harm me?”
Both Riley and Jane Parker want Rudy to stop and ask, “By posting defamatory comments, or, if you find a lawyer who sues the school, just count on a background search that will have you and your son labeled as trouble. This will impact an employer’s decision to hire you, and could adversely affect your son’s future.”
A Louisiana couple is suing Disney, claiming they took home some unwanted souvenirs — bedbugs — that infested their home and traumatized their autistic son during their stay at the All-Star Movies Resort last year.
Ashley and Robert LaCombe filed the lawsuit that was transferred into Orlando federal court this week. The suit seeks more than $75,000 in damages.
A Disney spokeswoman did not comment specifically on the allegations other than the company would respond appropriately in court.
Ashley LaCombe, a commercial Realtor, and her husband, who runs a welding business, said they were on a five-day vacation in April 2018 when they began feeling itchy and red.
After they returned to their home in a parish north of New Orleans, they realized they had been bitten by “numerous” bedbugs, the lawsuit said.
The bedbugs bit them hundreds of times, leaving scars, said their New Orleans attorney Jennifer Greene.
The lawsuit says they ed Disney, and employees confirmed there were bedbugs in their hotel, a value resort near the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
“The bedbugs from the Disney Hotel traveled with the LaCombes on their luggage, clothing, and personal belongings, infesting their home in Louisiana,” the lawsuit said.
The LaCombes accused Disney of not disclosing there was a problem with bedbugs and not keeping the hotel free of infestations, according to the lawsuit first filed last year in U.S. District Court’s eastern Louisiana division.
The couple said they hired an exterminator to kill the bugs at their home, which forced them to find another place to stay. They threw away infected furniture and belongings and the couple also had to take time off work to deal with the situation. The stress also hurt their 5-year-old child, who has autism, the lawsuit said.
“The LaCombes experienced and continue to experience additional mental anguish and stress as they cannot enjoy their home,” according to the lawsuit. “Family members and friends cannot visit due to the risk of acquiring the bedbug infestation.”
The bugs are still a problem and returned even after the home has been fumigated, Greene said.
“It’s unfortunate for a family to deal with after going to the happiest place on Earth,” Greene said