WEATHER »

Jury Reaches Verdict in Mold Lawsuit


A Santa Barbara jury ruled against a family suing the Santa Barbara Housing Authority for chronic illnesses they alleged were caused by toxic mold in their apartment. The verdict, rendered after a seven-week trial, concluded that the Housing Authority was in fact negligent in its maintenance of the apartment but that none of the four plaintiffs suffered harm as a result of that negligence. The suit was filed two years ago by Inger Budke, a property management specialist for the Housing Authority, who claimed that the mold in her apartment was so bad that her husband and two children suffered chronic sinus and respiratory ailments. Budke lived as a resident manager at the 106-unit Shifco affordable housing complex located on the Mesa. She and her family moved out for six months.

The Housing Authority contended that it addressed the problem as soon as the Budkes notified them and made necessary repairs in a timely fashion. Attorneys for the Housing Authority acknowledged there was mold in the premises, but disputed that it was toxic. The Budkes had sought $1.2 million; the Housing Authority offered $50,000, and the ensuing trial constituted a showdown between the dueling experts. Based on the verdict, the Housing Authority had better experts, and the jury concluded that the property was not maintained in a dangerous condition during the Budkes’ tenancy.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

SEC Sues Goleta Breast Implant Company’s CEO for Fraud

Hani Zeini allegedly concealed information and misled investors.

Goleta Woman Arrested in Hope Ranch for Prowling

Christen Aceves was also wanted for unlawful possession of a bird of prey.

Man Talked Down from Goleta Overpass

The 48-year-old had tied himself to a sign support.

Get Oil Out Founder and Dolphin Sculptor Bud Bottoms Dies

He was a true man-about-town and an engaged public citizen.

Plastic Bags? Throw ’Em Away

Santa Barbara County makes recycling rules tougher in face of exacting standards.