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From NBC 4, this is the Channel 4 News at 5:00.
A record settlement in a case of toxic mold inside a home. A local family claims the mold in their home caused brain damage to their baby. Now a major settlement, the largest in the country, for a mold case involving a single-family home.
Good evening, everybody. Itâ€™s now 5:00 o'clock on this Friday and Iâ€™m Paul Moyer. And Iâ€™m Colleen Williams.
We begin at 5:00 with an end to this toxic mold caseâ€¦ a 22.6 million dollar settlement was reached. A lumbar company and six other defendants will pay the family. The parents of the boy claimed he became sick because of mold on the wood that was improperly stored by the lumbar company. Channel 4â€™s Gordon Tokumatsu is live right now in Manhattan Beach with the latest. Gordon.
Well, Colleen, that house in question is right here behind me, built in 1999 for Gary Gorman and his wife, Dana. It is now empty, abandoned by the family long before they won that 22.6 million dollar settlement.
It was supposed to be their dream home, Gary and Dana Gorman and their children moving in six years ago, their house custom built by a general contractor and construction company. But it wasnâ€™t long before the dream became a nightmare.
This is a substantial amount of mold spores that essentially covered 80% to 85% of the home.
In their lawsuit, the Gormans claimed toxic mold had caused permanent brain damage to their son Kellen, shown here in video provided by the plaintiffâ€™s attorney. Doctors used MRIs to show how the boyâ€™s brain reacted to the mold exposure. And the rest of the family suffered, too, from respiratory problems and infections to short-term memory loss.
The first time that I realized it was dangerous was when the mold inspector came in and said, â€śWhoa, this is bad. You guys have got a problem. You need to move out of your house.â€ť
During a six-week trial, the Gormans showed the court that lumber used to build the house was contaminated with mold, in particular frame pieces used inside the walls. They even used photos taken by the lumber company itself during construction to show the creeping black organism.
I had no idea it was mold. I donâ€™t think you had any idea it was mold.
Attorney Brian Witzer says the photos, along with testimony from international mold and medical specialists, turned the tide in the case. The lumber company settled, agreeing to pay 13 million dollars to the Gormans. Add to that 9-1/2 million from other defendants, including the contractor and window installer. For the family, an enormous financial settlement, but they tell us their focus now is on the care of Kellen and getting the word out to others.
And we attempted to call the lumber companyâ€™s attorney earlier today. The woman who answered the phone said that there would be no statement issued on this case today. Meantime, the Gormans still own this property; they say they intend to knock that house down and rebuild.
Reporting live from Manhattan Beach, Gordon Tokumatsu, Channel 4 News.