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Steve Gursten files carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuit on behalf of Hickory Hollow tenant

February 7, 2019 by Steven M. Gursten

Attorneys file carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuit for tenant injured by broken down boilers and inadequate ventilation

Negligent maintenance of boiler and chimney system results in carbon monoxide poisoning
This photo depicts the actual conditions of the premises at Hickory Hollow Cooperative apartments where a tenant suffered serious injury and carbon monoxide poisoning due to broken down boilers and ventilation systems.

Today, I filed a lawsuit to protect a tenant of Hickory Hollow who suffered serious injury and carbon monoxide poisoning due to broken down boilers and ventilation systems. Here are some details from the lawsuit.

The carbon monoxide poisoning occurred at Hickory Hollow Cooperative apartments in Wayne, Michigan, and injured many tenants, killing one. The lawsuit I filed this morning is for long-time Hickory Hollow resident Priscilla Jordan who suffered serious injuries due to the carbon monoxide poisoning.

The attorneys representing Priscilla Jordan against Hickory Hollow Cooperative apartments 

Michigan Auto Law attorney Steven Gursten is the current president of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group. He focuses his practice on helping people with serious brain injuries, such as from carbon monoxide poisoning cases.

Gordon Johnson focuses on carbon monoxide poisoning cases and has successfully litigated these cases in several states and venues. Coincidentally, Gordon Johnson resolved last month another carbon monoxide poisoning case in Detroit that settled for a confidential 8-figure settlement.

Steven Gursten, who has the largest auto/TBI settlement in Michigan history of $34 million, and Mr. Johnson will be representing Ms. Jordan against Hickory Hollow.

On Ms. Jordan’s behalf, Gursten and Johnson filed a negligence lawsuit today against Hickory Hollow and its owner, Huntington Management, L.L.C., alleging a failure to properly inspect and to maintain its premises’ boilers in safe working condition and a failure to maintain adequate ventilation for Ms. Jordan’s residence and the other tenants seriously injured as a result.

Specifically, the lawsuit states that the defendants had equipped Ms. Jordan’s residence with a boiler connected to a chimney system, which malfunctioned and, thus, permitted the carbon monoxide rich products of combustion to become part of the breathable air inside of her residence before and on January 30 and 31, 2019, causing carbon monoxide poisoning.

The negligence by Hickory Hollow and Huntington Management exposed Ms. Jordan to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide which has caused her to suffer carbon monoxide poisoning, resulting in severe, permanent and irreversible injuries including brain damage affecting her cognitive and psychological functioning.

Ms. Jordan was poisoned as a direct and proximate result of the defendants’ multiple failures to properly inspect or maintain its boiler and chimney system in proper and safe working order.

Ms. Jordan was not the only resident of Hickory Hollow to have fallen prey to carbon monoxide poisoning. One tenant suffered carbon monoxide-related death and other tenants were being hospitalized for poisoning according to news reports.

What are the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning?

The photo above depicts the actual conditions of the premises at Hickory Hollow Cooperative apartments that resulted from the negligent maintenance of its boiler and chimney.

Condensation should be minimal in a well-maintained HVAC appliance. When it is running properly, there is nominal condensation and it goes right up and out of the chimney. Exhaust gases should be hot, they should not be condensing inside the chimney. When they do, it is always because there is CO [carbon monoxide] forming. Cold air is leaking in from cracks in the masonry, pushing down the dangerous gases that need hot air to rise. The cool air makes the gases condense inside the chimney. The internal combustion of H2O and CO and a little acid to boot is what causes the rust in this photograph. You don’t get this without something going very wrong for a very long time. This, along with the white masonry cracks in the chimneys, would have been visible for any maintenance person for Hickory Hollow to see and know there was a problem.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless molecule which, when contained in an enclosed space such as an apartment residence (as in the ones at Hickory Hollow), can become toxic and fatal to people.

This occurs when the ratio of carbon monoxide molecules to breathable and inert air molecules becomes too high and either:

  • That toxic level remains undetected; or
  • The level is diluted back down to a non-toxic level through adequate or appropriate ventilation.

In Ms. Jordan’s lawsuit, due to the negligence of Hickory Hollow and Huntington Management, the toxic ratio of carbon monoxide molecules to the inert and breathable molecules in her residence remained undetected. The boiler was not inspected or maintained and the apartment was inadequately ventilated, causing poisoning, injury and brain damage.

Steve Gursten files carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuit on behalf of Hickory Hollow tenant

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