Apartment management group says tenants have no legal grounds to make bed bug claims

By Nicholas Malfitano | Dec 15, 2015

Philadelphia City Hall  

PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia apartment management group contends a pair of former tenants suing it in response to a bed bug infestation do not have the sufficient legal grounds to make their claims.

George M. Farion filed a motion for preliminary objections on Sept. 15, claiming that plaintiffs Daniel Curcio and Yeremiah Hardt failed to appoint a proper guardian ad litem for Hardt, an incapacitated person, included “scandalous and impertinent matter” in their complaint, and had insufficient evidence for their main claims and for their claims for punitive damages and attorneys fees.

A hearing in this matter was set for Wednesday in Court chambers, at Philadelphia City Hall.

On June 11, 2010, the plaintiffs entered into a lease agreement with the defendants for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment on the third floor of a residence on Chestnut Street. While the plaintiffs were responsible for rent ($1,854 per month) plus utilities, the defendants were responsible for maintenance and pest/rodent control. The original lease concluded July 30, 2011, but was extended annually until June 2, 2014.

The plaintiffs allege the defendants did not have a housing inspection license, and were thus legally disqualified from being able to collect rent – in addition to ignoring numerous requests on their part for maintenance to the apartment.

Hardt awoke one night during early August 2013 with numerous and painful insect bites, the suit says. The plaintiffs claim the defendants asked them not to inform other residents in the building of the condition, and they promised to remediate the bed bug issue.

Though the defendants hired two separate companies, the plaintiffs contended the issue remained, and Hardt was attacked by bed bugs once again, the suit says.

As a result, Hardt’s bedroom and bathroom were sealed and remained unused for the rest of the time they spent in the apartment, but the plaintiffs still paid full rent and utilities until June 2014, the suit says.

The plaintiffs also allege they spent their own money in an attempt to eliminate the bed bug problem, but to no avail, and claim the defendants knew about the bed bug issue a year before it transpired.

In response, the plaintiffs withheld their rent for March, April and May 2014. The defendants then sued, and the plaintiffs counter-sued for personal injury, property damage and breach of implied warranty of habitability.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages not in excess of $50,000, plus punitive damages, costs, delay damages, interest and other relief in this case.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jonathan Rosenau of Fruendlich & Littman, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Farion of Farion Odza, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150600445

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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