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PA court upholds verdict in favor of plaintiff injured by mold in home

Recently, the Common Pleas Court of Monroe County, Pennsylvania delivered a favorable decision in a personal injury case involving mold in a home.  The plaintiff filed suit after she experienced breathing problems, which she alleged were caused by toxic levels of mold in the home she rented from defendant.   Plaintiff ultimately won her case at trial and the jury awarded her $150,000 in damages against the defendant. 

After the jury's verdict was returned the defendant filed post-trial motions, which requested the court to grant judgment in the defendant's favor despite the verdict.  The defendant argued that plaintiff failed to prove that the mold caused her injures and that her case must fail because there is no scientifically established levels of injury causing mold within a residence.  At trial, both plaintiff and defendant presented expert testimony concerning the levels of mold in the home.  Both experts agreed that there is no state guideline regulating the exposure limits for mold.  Defendant's post-trial motion argued that the Frye test required plaintiff to prove that the it is accepted by the scientific community that her illness was caused by the type of mold and amount of exposure she encountered.  The court concluded that the plaintiff's expert testimony was properly admitted under the Frye test.  The court denied the defendant's motions, which upheld the verdict in favor of plaintiff.

The Frye test, gets its name from a federal case from the 1920s (Frye v. United States, 293 F.Supp. 1013 (App. DC, Dec. 3, 1923).  The test has become standard in state and federal courts to determine the admissibility of expert medical testimony.  The court in Frye determined that expert testimony will only be admitted when the testimony is based on scientific principles that are sufficiently established and generally accepted within the scientific community.

The recent favorable decision of the Monroe County Court in Bodon-Soto helps Pennsylvania personal injury victims who may have been injured by mold exposure in a residence.  If you or someone you know has been exposed to mold and is now suffering from respitory distress you may have a case.

Source:  The Legal Intelligencer, Bodon-Soto v. Cohen, PICS Case No. 11-0030 (C.P. Monroe, Oct. 28, 2010) Wallach Miller, J.

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