Injuries/Damages: Termite treatment

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Name of Case: John and Janice Gresser, et al. v. Reliable Exterminators, Inc.
Court Case Number: 79D01-0403-CT-00025
Injuries: physical, neurological and neuro-behavioral problems
Court: Tippecanoe Superior Court I
Court Date: May 15, 2017-June 14, 2017
Trial Type: Jury trial
Judge: Special Judge Robert H. Hall
Disposition: Jury verdict for defendant
Plaintiff Attorneys: Zoe Littlepage and Rainey Booth (Houston, TX); Michael Stapleton (Lafayette, IN), Roger Pardieck (Seymour, IN)
Defendant Attorneys: Lonnie D. Johnson and Belinda R. Johnson-Hurtado (Bloomington, IN)
Insurance: Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS)

Case Information:  On June 15, 2017, after a five-week trial, a jury in Lafayette, Indiana, returned a unanimous defense verdict in the face of a $10M damage request by plaintiffs in the matter of Gresser v. Reliable Exterminators. Lonnie D. Johnson and Belinda R. Johnson-Hurtado litigated the case for over 10 years before it went to trial. In January 2000, the defendant was hired by ReMax to inspect a house in West Lafayette for termites. The house was then treated in February 2000 with Dursban TC — a termiticide containing an organophosphate called chlorpyrifos. The next year, John and Janice Gresser moved into the home with their two young daughters. They moved out of the house in 2002. Thereafter in 2004, the Gressers sued various defendants, only one of which remained for the trial that began on May 15, 2017.  Plaintiffs claimed that the home had been unnecessarily treated and improperly treated.  Plaintiffs’ damage claims at trial focused on the girls’ alleged permanent physical, neurological and neuro-behavioral problems claimed to have been caused by exposure to the chlorpyrifos in the home. The defense focused on medical causation issues as well as evidence from the Indiana State Chemist and others which found no evidence of improper application of the product in the home. After testimony from 47 witnesses and a request from plaintiffs’ counsel for a jury award of $10 million, the jury returned a complete defense verdict.

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