Can I sue or do anything to get compensation from arent to own furniture storefor bringing infested mattresses into my home?

In March we got the mattresses and in June my husband started getting bitten. We were not aware that the mattresses held any bed bugs because the contract assured us that the mattresses were brand new. In July, my husband’s bites had gotten so severe that he had to take a day off of work to go to our family practitioner who verified that we had bed bugs. We contacted the store who told us they were going to get the mattresses. It has been two days and my whole home is infested along with my sons bed. The only bed clean is my daughter’s bed which didn’t come from the store. We don’t know what to do.

Asked on July 22, 2010 under General Practice, Illinois

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You could file a lawsuit against the store and the manufacturer of the mattresses for negligence.  This area of law is called products liability.  Your negligence claim would be based on the defective product (mattresses).  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would include the cost of obtaining replacement mattresses, your husband's medical bills, your husband's  compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills, and the cost of removal of the bed bugs from your house.  Negligence is based on the failure to exercise due care which is that degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances.  Here, the manufacturer and the store failed to exercise due care by failing to adequately inspect the mattresses to be certain they were free of pests. 

In addition to your negligence cause of action (claim), your lawsuit could include a separate cause of action for strict liability.  Strict liability is another aspect of products liability (defective product).  You would need to prove that even in the exercise of due care, the product was inherently dangerous.  Although this may be difficult to prove for a mattress, you might be able to argue that strict liability is applicable because the faulty or nonexistent inspection of the mattress is a health and safety issue when a mattress is infested with bed bugs.  The health and safety issue renders the product inherently dangerous.

Your lawsuit should also include separate causes of action (claims) for breach of contract, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular  purpose.  A breach of contract cause of action would be determined by the language in the contract.  Breach of implied warranty of merchantability means that the mattress is NOT of a standard that is acceptable in the trade.  In other words, the mattress is not of acceptable quality because it is infested with bed bugs.  Breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose means that the mattress infested with bed bugs is NOT fit to be used for its intended purpose as a bed.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.