Published at Sunday, September 09th, 2018 - 06:54:03 AM. Bedding. By Beatrice Townsend.
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), bed bug infestations have been reported in all 50 states. Nearly unheard of since near eradication by DDT-based insecticides in the 1950s, bed bugs are back and in ever-increasing numbers. Bed bug reports increased by 71% from 2000 to 2005 according to the NPMA. Most pest control companies now field dozens of calls a week each week. "The last 12 months have been particularly active," said Cindy Mannes, NPMA director of public affairs. "They are showing up like never before in hotels, hospitals, college dormitories, and multifamily housing units as well as single-family homes."
The financial impact of a bed bug suit can be substantial. In the 2003 landmark case (Matthias v. Accor Economy Lodging); Toronto siblings who stayed in a bed bug-infested motel room received a jury award of $382,000 in their suit against Motel 6. In 2006, a Chicago couple sued a Catskills resort for $20 million, saying they were physically and mentally scarred after suffering 500 bed bug bites. "I was horrified to see all of those bites all over my body," said plaintiff Leslie Fox. "I was miserable. My skin felt as if it was on fire and I wanted to tear it off." In 2007, New York opera star Allison Trainer sued the Hilton hotel chain for $6 million claiming she suffered more than 100 bed bug bites at a Hilton Suites in Phoenix. Her story was widely reported in the press: "They were all over the bed and the comforter and the pillows and I pulled the sheets off and they were just everywhere." Her attorney documented 150 bites and 23 scars. Just last month a New York Supreme Court judge ruled that two Maryland tourists bitten by bed bugs during a 2003 stay at the Milford Plaza could proceed with their $2 million negligence suit, though punitive damages were denied.
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