Poor Ventilation Causes Allergies and Sinus Polyps...

by Ky
(Paramount, CA)

I rent a suite for my dental facility. I moved in 3 years ago and still have 2 years remaining on a 5 year contract. After moving in I noticed several problems. I informed the owner of the building that the HVAC was not working because it was too hot in the winter or too cold in the summer. There was also no exit door in case of an emergency and the x-ray room was built improperly. The whole unit also doesn't have its own bathroom or lunchroom. As a result, my employees and I have to eat in the car or somewhere else.

The main reason for me writing is that I have developed all kinds of allergies due to the large amount of dust coming from the so called ventilation. I am losing 60% of my smell due to polyp formation in my nose as a side effect of those allergies. I have never had any allergy in my entire life prior to moving into this office. By staying in such a harmful environment for 3 years, I seem to have become allergic to everything.

I am still under treatment with a doctor for my allergies and may possibly need sinus surgery to remove the polyps. I am a dentist and I still have 26 years left to practice. I think I deserve to be compensated for my injuries as well as my emotional distress which has been caused by the owner of the property. My doctor says that even with surgery, my smell will not come back and I have to live with it. This affects my ability to work as a dentist.

Do I have a valid case against the property owner? If so, how would I go about suing him for my injuries? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Poor Ventilation Causes Allergies and Sinus Polyps...":

KY (Paramount, CA):

You may have a case against the owner, and leasing or management companies for the building.

Put together a "portfolio" containing copies of the following:

1. Letters of complaint sent to the owner, and leasing or management companies.

2. Letters in response, if any, you received from the owner, and leasing or management companies.

3. A list of the dates and times you called the owner and leasing or management companies complaining of the problem.

4. A list of any communications had between your employees with the owner, and leasing or management companies complaining of the problem.

5. A written chronology of each and every event which took place from the time you first noticed the problem through the present day - and continue to maintain that chronology throughout.

(a) The chronology should also include detailed notations recounting every action or statement made by the building owner, and leasing or management companies.

6. An independent evaluation of the environment in your office, including any contaminants found therein. (There are environmental companies who test for such contaminants.)

7. The cost of eliminating the contaminants from the air and walls (if possible).

8. A credible medical diagnosis of your illnesses confirming the allergies you have developed and the medical procedures which will be necessary to repair the damage.

9. The cost of the surgery.

10. Your doctor's prognosis for the near future.

11. The cost of relocation, including, but not limited to, new letterhead, yellow pages ads, web site changes, moving costs, etc.

12. Add to the chronology any other events which are in any way related to the problem.

Once you have your portfolio built, contact several personal injury attorneys. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation. The attorneys will appreciate all the work you have done, especially as it will make the problem clearer and the supporting documentation more readily accessible.

Finally, consider breaking your lease. With what has transpired you certainly seem to have the basis to do so.

The owner and leasing or management company have a duty to make your office "habitable" for you, your employees, and your patients. From the facts you present it would appear they have entirely breached that duty.

Before breaking the lease though, be sure to check with your attorney. Leases of commercial medical property can be unique and as a result must be reviewed thoroughly before making a decision to break the lease.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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