On Thursday, a jury ordered Calidad Furniture & Linen Inc., the store that sold Jackson a pair of wood-frame beds, to pay Jackson and her sons $225,000 for the ordeal. It is one of the largest bedbug liability judgments in the country.
Multimillion-dollar lawsuits over bedbugs have become increasingly common as infestations have spread across the country and victims seek to hold landlords, hotels and retailers responsible for their exterminator bills and mental anguish.
But a public judgment is rare in bedbug liability cases. Lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages have received publicity in recent years, such as several filed against the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York. But most fade away with confidential settlements.
In July 2010, Adarien Jackson’s 6-year-old son, Kaden, began complaining of itchy bumps on his ankles. They soon turned into a rash and spread to his back, behind his ear, and on his eyelid.
The child’s pediatrician and dermatologists tried allergy drugs, diet changes, oils and oatmeal baths. But it wasn’t until months later that Jackson discovered the cause of the problem. Kaden’s twin brother, Kyler, began waking in the middle of the night, crying out, “Bugs are crawling on me!”
Jackson realized her sons’ beds — which she had recently purchased from a furniture store in Elkridge — were teeming with bedbugs, according to a lawsuit she filed in Anne Arundel County in December 2010.