Treatment Company Spread Bed Bugs to Adjacent Condo

by Peter
(Hopkins MN USA)

Reader Question - Are there grounds for a small claims Bed Bug Lawsuit when infestation spread from an adjacent condo?


I live in a condo that I own. My neighbor (below me) got bed bugs. I was inspected at that time and no bugs were found. When the neighbor had Heat treatment done on her condo the treatment company inspected my place and found no bugs.

I asked if the worker if the treatment they were doing was just going to send all the bugs downstairs up into my condo, he said it was possible, but they were laying down dust to prevent this.

Three days later I found one dead bug in my bedroom and 1 live bug on my couch. I collected them and notified my association. The association decided to hire an alternate company because I voiced a concern of other neighbors in my same situation.

I had chemical treatment done on my condo and I have found no other bugs. I want to sue the original company for negligence. That company had a duty to prevent the spread of bugs and did not do so effectively. I personally believe they were spreading bugs on purpose because they could charge each and every condo they treated.

My association is not seeking relief and is now charging me for the chemical treatment. I am considering small claims court but don't know if this
will work.

Any ideas?

Editor Suggestion Regarding Bed Bug Lawsuits

Hi Peter,

Sorry to hear about the bed bug problems you are having. Here are a couple of thoughts:

1. Bed bugs will run away from heat. There is no question that the exterminator knew that heat treatment in an adjacent condominium would force bed bugs into the walls and possibly into your apartment.

2. Bed bug dust is not 100% effective. It does work as a barrier, but like any dust product, it is hard to get 100% coverage. Plus, it wouldn't kill any bed bugs already in the walls. The dust requires a bed bug to pass through the dust field. The dust then clings to the bed bugs outer layer, eventually causing death.

3. Bed bug lawsuits are often difficult to prove since most cases depend on identifying the original source of the bed bugs. In your case this may not be a problem since your condo was professionally inspected prior to your neighbor's treatment.

If you need more information, you can call the MN Bed Bug Hotline at 614-624-2200, a service of the University of Minnesota Extension.

It also helps to have an attorney experienced with Minnesota bed bug law. I'd suggest contacting LawHelpMN.org for a referral.

I believe that you have a good chance to win a lawsuit. Please let us know how you make out and best of luck.

- Jeff

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