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Workers Sue City of Louisville in Class Action Suit for Unsafe Work Environment Due to Toxic Mold Exposure

Employees from the metro police department in Louisville, Kentucky have sued the city of Louisville and the Metro Housing Authority in a class-action suit. The suit claims that the plaintiffs were exposed to mold and other contaminants at a toxic level in a government building at 768 Barret Ave. The case was filed Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court. The suit claims that because of gross negligence and fraudulent concealment, up to 1000 past and present employees were exposed, leading to symptoms including congestion, headaches and skin and respiratory issues.

In 2003, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and an outside consultant found toxic levels of mold in the air. According to the lawsuit, nothing was done to fix the situation, and employees were not informed of the findings. Last year, after some employees’ symptoms worsened, OSHA ordered that the ventilation system be cleaned out or replaced, and employees were relocated. Now that the employees are scheduled to return to the building, the plaintiffs are requesting confirmation that the building has been brought up to OSHA standards, that funds be in place for medical testing of employees, and that treatment is provided for any employees that were affected.

Gross negligence occurs when an individual or entity knowingly places a person or group of people in danger. In this case, it is alleged that the city of Louisville and the Metro Housing Authority were aware of the air-quality issue, but did not fix it.

Gross negligence can also be found in car accidents caused by drunk drivers or those distracted by texting. Medical malpractice claims may also include gross negligence if the doctor was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating, or an incorrect surgery is performed, such as the unnecessary removal of an organ or limb.

Fraudulent concealment is the failure of an individual to disclose information intentionally, which causes harm to another individual. In this case, Metro Housing Authority allegedly did not tell the employees the results of the testing done by the OSHA or warn them about the harmful effects of exposure to the toxins in the air. George Cochran, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs said “Instead of resolving a problem, they said there was nothing to worry about.”

Fraudulent concealment can also occur contractually between an employee and employer. Having an employee sign a contract that states he will not be terminated before a certain date with the knowledge that he will be terminated shortly thereafter can be fraudulent concealment by the employer.

The Miller & Falkner law firm has been representing individuals who have been working in unsafe conditions or have been misled by an employer regarding Kentucky employment issues for over eight years.

Source: The Courier-Journal; “City Sued over Work Exposure”; Jason Riley; August 31, 2011