Bed bug victims are biting back in court

They can sneak into your home, hide in your bed and bite you in your sleep. Bed bugs have sparked another major lawsuit in Maryland.

At Steeplechase Apartments in Cockeysville, Rachel Walkins was stunned to learn that the exact apartment she now rents is at the center of a bed bug lawsuit.

"We just moved here in July, and we haven't had a single problem with anything related to bed bugs," Walkins said.

But according to the lawsuit a couple who rented the apartment back March claim the apartment was infested with bed bugs, leading to what they call a hellish four-week period until they moved out. They then hired attorney Dan Whitney, who filed suit for $1.5 million.

"The landlord knew they had a problem and leased the premises anyway," Whitney said. "A large sum of money is needed to punish and deter this kind of behavior."

Whitney's firm has filed a total of five bed-bugs lawsuits-- two in Baltimore County, one in the city, and one each in Howard and Harford counties.

Just last week, a woman filed the third bed-bug lawsuit against the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York after her stay there in May.

"The next morning we obviously woke up and we had bed bugs," she said. "There were marks on both of my arms. I saw blood on the sheets."

From New York City to Baltimore City, bed bugs complaints are on the rise in hotels, schools and homes like John Brooks' in Dundalk.

"I was amazed that we had bedbugs," Brooks said.

And since biting bugs are so notoriously difficult to get rid of, dozens of bed bug victims are now biting back in court.

Property managers and owners at Steeplechase could not be reached for comment. They have 30 days to file a response to the lawsuit.

A similar bed-bug lawsuit was also filed against the Briarcliff Apartments in Cockeysville in September.

(Published by WJZ - November 7, 2010)

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