Court Denies Motion for Punitive Damages in BedBug Negligence Lawsuit

In likely the largest bedbug lawsuit filed to date, Cassiday Schade attorneys Joseph A. Giannelli, Anthony J. Longo, and Ann M. Meckstroth won a significant victory when Cook County Judge Kathy Flanagan denied a motion filed by 14 individual plaintiff tenants seeking punitive damages. 

The 2008 lawsuit alleged negligence, breach of warranty and willful and wanton conduct against the property owner and property management company for purportedly failing to keep common areas and tenant units free from cimex lectularius, or bedbugs.  Bedbugs are small, elusive, parasitic insects that feed preferentially on human blood. The name 'bedbug' is derived from the insect's habitat of infesting houses and especially beds or other areas where people sleep. Bedbugs, though not strictly nocturnal, are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts.  Largely eradicated as pests in the developed world in the early 1940s, bedbugs have been resurgent since about 1995.

The punitive damages motion alleged that Cassiday Schade's client was on notice of the bedbug infestation, and despite such notice, the infestation spread eventually leading to bites and scars on each of the plaintiffs.  The Cassiday Schade team took discovery of the plaintiffs, and in particular, deposed each of the numerous treating physicians.  After filing an extensive brief supported by the testimony of the plaintiffs' own physicians, the Circuit Court of Cook County denied the motion for punitive damages, and denied plaintiffs' motion to reconsider. 

The Court's memorandum decision is one of three such decisions nationally on the issue of bedbugs and punitive damages.  A copy of the decision can be obtained .

The above summary is specific to a particular case and is not intended as a projected outcome on any other matter.