Property owner refuses to pay for bedbug extermination. $104,400. Kern County.


New tenant says there are bedbugs in home, landlord blames them on tenant.

The Case

  • Case Name: Margarita Fuentes et al. v. Pioneer Street Associates
  • Court and Case Number: Kern County Superior Court / S-1500-CV-282214
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, March 07, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, June 11, 2014
  • Type of Case: Landlord-Tenant Issues
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Thomas A. Clark
  • Plaintiffs:
    Margarita Fuentes and her four children.
  • Defendants:
    Pioneer Street Associates
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $104,400
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None.
  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Punitive Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 11 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 1/2 days.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    MYBEDBUGLAWYER, INC. by Brian Virag, Encino.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Belofsky & Hanker, LLP by David Belofsky, San Pedro.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Adrian Rojas, PA, Bakersfield. (Treating health care provider.)

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Tina Youseffy.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Richard Kaae, entomology, Huntington Beach.

    Eric White, property management.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):


Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiffs moved into defendant’s property in April, 2012. Within a couple of months they discovered bedbugs in their unit. Plaintiff notified management immediately but the defendant delayed inspection by pest control for nearly 2 weeks. Pest control inspected and found the unit positive for bedbugs and recommended treatment. Management advised plaintiff that "if you don’t pay, we won’t spray."

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant had an obligation to provide habitable premises. That defendant breached the warranty of habitability and the lease agreement by failing to provide habitable premises. Further, that defendant was negligent, permitted a nuisance to exist and negligently inflicted emotional distress upon plaintiffs.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That plaintiff caused the invasion of bedbugs.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Bites, scars.

  • Emotional distress.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: None.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: None.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: None.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: None.
  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $600,000 (Per defense counsel.)
  • Defendant §998 Offer: None.
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $5,000

Additional Notes

At one point in the litigation there was an offer by defendant for $5,000. By the time of the MSC there was no offer by defense.

Per defense counsel:

Plaintiff's lowest pre-verdict demand was $600,000.