Family Claims to Have Been Tricked into Buying House Full of Poisonous Spiders

By Jennifer Felten

“It was shortly after we moved in they started bleeding out of the walls,” recalls Brian Trost, the father of a family whose dream home turned into a nightmare. The spider.under.glass“they” he is referring to are brown recluse spiders, a type of spider that is considered highly dangerous as their venom can cause serious health issues, including kidney failure. A bite from such a spider is not generally fatal, but the resulting health impacts can be very painful, especially for children.

According to Brian and his wife, the spiders began appearing shortly after they purchased and moved into the home in October of 2007. When they started appearing the family took notice, ultimately finding the spiders throughout the house, with a heavy concentration in the atrium area leading to their finished basement. Susan Trost remembers an incident where their then 4-year-old son started yelling, “spider, spider!” after spotting a brown recluse on the couch.

The family made several efforts to exterminate the home but after 4 years of unsuccessful attempts they vacated the property and filed suit against the seller. The suit was based upon the theory of failure to disclose, with the Trosts’ claiming that the sellers never advised them of the spider infestation during the closing process. The sellers, for their part, claim they never saw spiders in the house such that no disclosure was necessary.

The lawsuit resulted in a five-day jury trial. An expert hired by the Trost family testified that his inspection revealed an infestation of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 spiders. The expert further testified that, based upon the scope of the infestation, in his opinion it was hard to believe the previous owners did not see spiders when they lived at the house. The Trosts prevailed in the suit, being awarded several hundred thousand dollars in damages from the seller. However, to date the family has failed to receive any money as the case is up on appeal.

The sellers believe that the spiders were brought into the home by the Trosts’, possibly when their furniture was delivered to the property from a pod type storage unit. They support this claim with the fact that the property was inspected as part of the purchase and no spider infestation was noted by the inspector.

Whatever the source and however the case comes out, the Trosts say the infestation has led to emotional and financial challenges. The family still owns the house but it sits vacant, except for the thousands of spiders living inside doing who knows what.

 

Jennifer Felten, Esq., Partnerfelton, LLP, www.hhlawgroup.com, 699 Hampshire Road, Suite 105, Westlake Village, CA 91361, (805) 265-1031, [email protected].  Ms. Felten specializes in representing both individuals and legal entities, providing representation and guidance on a variety of real estate related matters.

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