Landlord allowed water leaks to go unrepaired until mold permeated her building.
Harris Martin Publishing
April 28, 2009
PHOENIX — A Phoenix jury has awarded $3.3 million to a
woman who blamed her mold exposure and related illnesses on
her landlord’s negligence in failing to make timely
repairs. Minium v. Pillar Communities LLC, et al., No.
CV2004-014906 (Ariz. Super. Ct., Maricopa Cty.).
The nine jurors reportedly deliberated for two hours before
reaching a unanimous verdict in favor of plaintiff Robin
Minium and against her former landlord, Pillar communities
LLC. The defendant is one of the largest developers and
landlords in the Greater Phoenix area, with more than 4,000
apartment units, according to a trial report.
Minium is a former executive with American Express who sued
Pillar in 2004, complaining that Pillar failed to warn of
mold remediation in neighboring apartments and allowed
water leaks to go unrepaired until mold permeated her
She alleged that she and other tenants had complained to
Pillar of water leaks and of feeling ill before Pillar paid
for remediation projects in other apartments.
Minium said she moved from her apartment in 2002, and she
complained that Pillar lost or destroyed her possessions,
including a family Bible, dishes, quilts, furniture and
inherited items. Pillar asserted that the items were
Trial on Minium’s claims began on April 14 before Judge
Craig Blakey, and ended on April 22.
At trial, Melanie Molenar, Pillar’s executive vice-
president, testified that Pillar intentionally did not warn
Minium about remediation efforts in other apartments
because it felt residents were safe.
Pillar also relied on allergist Miriam Anand, M.D., who
testified that mold can’t cause permanent or long-term
Expert witnesses for Minium included Mark Van Ert, Ph.D.,
CIH, of Tucson, Ariz., who opined that, based on the
remediation reports, Minium suffered from mold exposures
sufficient to cause illnesses.
She also relied on Michael Gray, M.D., of Benson, Ariz.,
who concluded that Minium has disabling cognitive and
physical injuries caused by mold exposure, and Tucson,
Ariz., psychologist Robert Crago, Ph.D., of Tucson, who
found through testing that Minium suffers a loss of
Andrea and Adam Watters of the Watters Law Firm in Tucson
Kendall Steele of Jardine, Hickman, Baker & Houston in
Phoenix represents Pillar Communities.
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