Couple settles state bed bug lawsuit for $450k
RUTLAND (AP) -- A Rutland couple who claimed their home was made uninhabitable after it was sprayed for bed bugs with a banned pesticide has reached a $450,000 settlement with the Vermont agency that hired the exterminator.
Neil and Patricia Whitney agreed last week to end their federal lawsuit against the state Department for Children and Families, the state Agency of Human Services and a number of others.
"When it’s all said and done, this will allow them to start their life over with a little cushion," said Karl Anderson, the Whitneys’ attorney, told the Rutland Herald (http://bit.ly/1iykXPf ). "It’s been a difficult last few years for them."
The Whitneys maintain their home became unlivable after it was sprayed in April 2013 with a banned pesticide to kill bed bugs that were brought into their home by a ward of the state.
The exterminator, who was not named in the lawsuit, was hired and paid by DCF after earlier attempts to rid the home of bed bugs failed.
In their lawsuit, the Whitneys said the exterminator left surfaces "visibly dripping" with pesticide.
Assistant Attorney General Eve Jacobs-Carnahan said the state admitted no wrongdoing by agreeing to the settlement.
"We believe we have a very strong defense and the state is not culpable for the actions of" the exterminator, she said. "But we recognize that the family has been through a very hard time and have agreed to the settlement to help them."
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