Holding landlords accountable for the toxic living conditions in military housing
The companies that manage and lease housing to service members have allowed the homes to rot, sickening the service members and their families.
Problems include mold, pest and rodent infestations, leaking water and sewer lines, structural hazards, and asbestos and lead that have been disturbed.
As a result of living in the shoddy homes, the service members and their families have developed asthma, pneumonia, nausea, severe nosebleeds, brain fog and unexplained rashes and headaches. They have lost household possessions to damage from mold, water leaks, and backed-up sewage. And then they have been told to deal with it because the companies refuse to pay the bill.
The way these families have been treated is a national disgrace.
For service members, the health problems affect their ability to do their job, worried as they are that chronic illness could render them medically unfit for duty and that their kids are not safe at home.
For American taxpayers, the contractor failures are outrageous from a moral standpoint ― of all the burdens we ask our troops to shoulder, living in decrepit housing should not be one of them ― and from a fiscal standpoint ― the military housing bill comes to $4 billion a year, and for this we’re getting homes overrun with rats and reeking of mold.
In partnership with military families, the Law Offices of James R. Moriarty is working to fix this problem.
This office is leveraging the media, Congress, and the courts to bring about meaningful reforms and seek fair compensation for the families who have been harmed. The firm has brought suit against two of the largest operators of military housing ― the management companies are offshoots of Hunt and Lendlease ― for providing substandard housing at Fort Hood, Randolph Air Force Base, and Laughlin Air Force Base.
Nearly a third of U.S. military families, some 700,000 people, live in rented housing on military installations around the country. This housing was turned over to privatized companies beginning in the mid-90s, with the expectation that the private sector would be better equipped than the government to repair the homes and manage day-to-day leasing operations. The companies have instead turned out to be de-facto slumlords, failing to make needed repairs and taking advantage of a captive customer base and a military leadership with no power to force them to serve the families.
The homes are falling down. Many military kids are getting sick. Their families have lost their furniture, household goods, and family heirlooms due to exposure to mold. And our nation’s military readiness has been dealt a serious blow.
|Mold lines the air vent register in a Laughlin Air Force Base home
The issues first came to light via an investigation launched in 2018 by the Reuters news service, which has prompted Congressional investigations and law enforcement raids. A “bill of rights” for service members and their families living in privatized housing was incorporated into the major bill funding national defense earlier this year. The legislation omitted key protections ― like the right to view a home’s maintenance history and to withhold rent if the landlord has failed to make repairs ― and we are pressing for those to be added.
Meanwhile, legal actions are mounting around the country. In fall 2019, a jury in southern California awarded a family $2 million in their suit against Lincoln Military Housing.(A judge, however, disagreed, saying the award was too high, and has ordered a new trial.) Lawsuits have been filed against Corvias Management-Army, for families at Fort Meade, Md., against The Michaels Organization for families at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., and against Hunt Southern Group for families at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss.
The Law Offices of James R. Moriarty is uniquely situated to help.
The firm is led by Vietnam combat Marine and Gold Star father Jim Moriarty. He has four decades of experience as an advocate for military families, inside and outside the courts, and is a nationally known expert in mass torts.
Moriarty has successfully sued some of the largest companies in the world. In one notable example against Shell, he represented owners of some 17,000 homes damaged by defective plumbing systems. Moriarty and partners recovered a record settlement ― the net-to-client amount was $950 million ― for homeowners whose polybutylene pipes had failed. And they forced the companies to fix the pipes. (See footnote)
Sickened Fort Hood Families Sue Private Housing Companies for Deplorable On-Post Living Conditions
June 15, 2020
SAN ANTONIO ― Alleging they were sickened by toxic, mold-infested military housing, a group of U.S. Army families sued the corporate landlords and managers of thousands of Fort Hood homes for fraud and deceptive trade practices today, according to Pulman, Cappuccio & Pullen, LLP and co-counsel. Filed in San Antonio federal court, the lawsuit by nine military families accuses three companies of systematically under-maintaining the privatized housing and then defrauding the families about the condition and repairs of the homes.
The families are represented by Pulman, Cappuccio & Pullen, LLP, of San Antonio; the Law Offices of James R. Moriarty, of Houston; Watts Guerra LLP, of San Antonio; and Johnson Reist PLLC, of Plano, Texas.
Read the suit: SFC Jesus Joseph Brown and Emilee Brown, et al., v. Fort Hood Family Housing LP, et al.
Sickened Military Families Accuse Hunt Military Communities of Fraud
Oct 29, 2019
SAN ANTONIO ― A group of U.S. Air Force families alleges that toxic, mold- and pest-infested housing at two Texas air force bases sickened them because Hunt Military Communities systematically under-maintained the privatized housing and defrauded the families about remediation efforts, according to the lawsuit filed today in federal court in San Antonio.
The families live or have lived in base housing at Randolph Air Force Base, near San Antonio, Texas, or at Laughlin Air Force Base, near Del Rio, Texas. The families are represented by Randall A. Pulman and Ryan C. Reed, of Pulman, Cappuccio & Pullen, LLP, in San Antonio; and James R. Moriarty of the Law Offices of James R. Moriarty, in Houston.
Read the suit: Michael J. Daniels and Barbara High-Daniels, et al., v. AETC II Privatized Housing LLC, et al.
FOOTNOTE: The settlement in Cox v. Shell awarded $950 million to homeowners whose pipes had failed. Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel were as follows: Don Barrett, Esq.; Gordon Ball, Esq.; Michael A. Caddell, Esq.; David H. Weinstein, Esq.; Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, P.C.; Conley, Campbell, Moss & Smith; Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann& Bernstein; Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll; Hagens & Berman; Heins Mills & Olson, P.L.C.; Jackson, Taylor & Martino; Patrick Pendley, Esq.; Phillip Feliciano, Esq.; Moore & Brown; Thomas Jessee, Esq.; Carey & Danif, L.L.C.; Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman; Moriarty & Associates, P.C.; Caddell & Conwell, P.C.; Weinstein Kitchenoff Scarlato & Goldman Ltd; Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C.; Law Offices of Marc D. Murr, P.C.; Bristow, Hackerman, Wilson & Peterson, P.C.; Law Offices of Dennis C. Burns; and Law Offices of Charles E. Dorr, P.C.
Separately, Jim Moriarty and partners litigated approximately 800 individual polybutylene cases. These cases were separate from the Cox v. Shell class action case.