$2 million settlement judged fair in hotel mold class action

By Alejandro de los Rios | May 24, 2010

Orleans Parish District Judge Michael Bagenaris has ruled that a $2 million settlement in a class action suit against the Omni Royal Hotel in New Orleans is fair and reasonable.

The class action stems from the alleged exposure of mold to hotel guests and employees from Jan. 1, 1998 until Sept. 30, 2004. The 35 members of the class, led by New Orleans resident Philip Bayer, claim Omni Hotels is liable for exposure to mold, mold spores, products of mold and mold sports, fungal substances, mycotoxins and toxins.

New Orleans attorneys Mark Glago, Anthony Irpino, Lonis Koerner and Brent Cueria represent the plaintiffs.

A special master has been assigned to determine individual awards. Bagenaris did not yet rule on the attorneys' request for 40 percent of the settlement.

The class action suit names Omni Hotels Management Corp., 535 Gravier LLC, Decatur Hotels, Omni Royal Crescent, and hotel manager William Sherrer and director of engineering Gerard Vitrano as defendants.

The class action cites a suit filed in October 2003 by Cueria on behalf of Craig Dermody, Craig Dermody Jr. and Lindlee Dermody against the same defendants which established the liability of the Omni Royal Crescent hotel and that the mold could and did cause injuries to the plaintiffs.

The original suit was filed Nov. 18, 2003. Bagenaris ruled on the settlement May 21, 2010.

No date was set for future hearings.

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