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MacDill Air Force Base Military Housing Class Action Lawsuit

CASE NUMBER: 8:19-cv-2950-T-30AEP
PRACTICE AREAS: Consumer Protection
CASE STATUS: Pending
COURT: U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division

Berger Montague PC, on behalf of Plaintiffs Joshua Lenz, Traci Lenz, Jason Norquist, Amie Norquist, Ryan Morgan, Erica Morgan, Gary Elbon, Kayla Elbon, Jason Genrich, and Jenny Genrich, has filed a class action lawsuit against Defendants The Michaels Organization, LLC, Michaels Management Services, Inc., Interstate Realty Management Company, AMC East Communities, LLC, Clark Capital Realty LLC, and Harbor Bay at MacDill, related to alleged moisture and mold issues affecting the military housing on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. The class action is filed on behalf of all current and former military members and their family members who have resided in Defendants’ rental military housing at MacDill Air Force Base.

The Plaintiffs allege that Defendants’ military housing suffers from construction defects and deficiencies in its development, operation, maintenance, and management. The Plaintiffs allege that these issues have led to safety issues resulting from moisture and mold that have endangered and injured the health, welfare, and safety of the U.S. military members and their family members. On December 2, 2019, the Plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in federal court in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, and it is captioned Lenz, et al. v. The Michaels Organization, LLC, et al., Civil Action No. 8:19-cv-2950-T-30AEP (M.D. Fla.). A copy of the filed Complaint is available here.

About the Case

The class action lawsuit alleges breach of contract, breach of the implied warranty of habitability, violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, negligence, gross negligence, and unjust enrichment, in connection with the Defendants’ violation of their duties to provide safe and mold-free housing to U.S. military members and their families on MacDill Air Force Base.

MacDill Air Force Base houses the 6th Air Mobility Wing and is part of the Air Mobility Command for the U.S. Air Force. According to a contract with the U.S. Air Force under the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, the lawsuit alleges that the Defendants own and operate many hundreds of rental homes in which the military members and their families stationed at MacDill Air Force Base reside. The lawsuit alleges that Defendants’ failure to properly build, maintain, and repair moisture and mold issues at MacDill Air Force Base has resulted in widespread and severe mold problems requiring extensive remediation and possibly the rebuilding of the homes.

As a result of the moisture and mold exposure, U.S. military families, including active duty members, their spouses, and children residing on the MacDill Air Force Base, have paid excessive amounts for the housing they rented, have incurred unreimbursed out-of-pocket economic losses, and have suffered and continue to suffer from severe health issues including pulmonary and respiratory problems, sinusitis, enlarged lymph nodes, allergies, headaches, and rashes, among other medical issues.

Mold Issues at MacDill Air Force Base

In May 2019, the Military Family Advisory Network, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization connecting military families, issued a 200-page research report on living conditions of families in privatized military housing. As part of the report, the Military Family Advisory Network surveyed service members at various military installations, including MacDill Air Force Base. Based on the responses of over a hundred service members residing on MacDill Air Force Base, more than 54% had experienced problems with mold.

Mold problems at MacDill have been so extensive that the U.S. Air Force penalized Defendant Michaels in 2019 by cutting the money it received through a performance incentive fee. Colonel Stephen Snelson, Commander of the 6th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill, specifically noted that the U.S. Air Force’s action in cutting these fees was “due to mold remediation complaints” raised by service members.

The litigation alleges that when notified by residents of the mold problems, Defendants have failed to address the issues, denied the existence and severity of the problems, delayed in responding appropriately, refused to share moisture and mold tests with residents and the public, and engaged in inadequate and shoddy remediation efforts. One Plaintiff and his family spent 58 days in temporary housing during a seven-month period in 2019, and another had mold mushrooms growing out of his floor and carpet.

In a November 2019 interview, Ron Hansen, the president of Defendant Michaels, stated that “[t]he Air Force is not responsible for any of this. When people are pointing fingers at someone for maintenance issues, they’re pointing at us and they’re right.”

Berger Montague Managing Shareholder Shanon J. Carson, who is leading the class action litigation on behalf of the military families, stated: “The severe toll on U.S. service members and their families from living in substandard, mold-infested housing cannot be overstated. These men and women serve our country, and they deserve to live in safe, clean, and uncontaminated housing that won’t make them sick and cause them to incur unnecessary expense. It is difficult for our service members to focus on their critical role of keeping our country safe when they are themselves suffering from health problems and worried about the health and safety of their spouses and children.”

Contact Us to Learn More

Berger Montague has launched an investigation into substandard and unsafe housing at MacDill Air Force Base and other United States military bases around the country and has been contacted by military members at other bases who are complaining of mold and other building issues. Affected military members and their families, and anyone with relevant information concerning mold or defective construction or building products used on military bases, including MacDill Air Force Base, are encouraged to contact attorney Shanon J. Carson at Berger Montague at (215) 875-4656 or by email at scarson@bm.net. Berger Montague has assembled a response team of dedicated attorneys, paralegals, and investigators and will respond immediately.

You can also contact Berger Montague by filling out the form on this page. We hope to hear from you soon.

MacDill Air Force Base Mold Issues in the Media

Military Families Say Mold in Homes Caused Health Issues – Law360

Military Families at MacDill are the Latest to File Suit Against Their Privatized Housing Landlords – Military Times

Five Families File Lawsuit Over Mold in Military Housing at Florida’s MacDill Air Force Base – Stars and Stripes

MacDill Mold Problem Topic of Discussion at U.S. Senate Hearing – WFLA.com

Tampa Military Families Sue Over Mold in Housing – WTSP.com

MacDill Penalizes Base Housing Operator Over Mold as Bilirakis Launches Congressional Inquiry – Tampa Bay Times

Combat Veteran on Mold Problem: ‘MacDill Was the Worst Place I Ever Lived.’ – Tampa Bay Times

Military Families Sue Private Housing Developers Over Health Hazards on Base – NBC Nightly News

MacDill AFB Penalizes Base Housing Operator Over Mold – Military.com

Survey of Families Finds Slum-Like Base Housing – The Fayetteville Observer

New Report Highlights More Mold and Maintenance Problems for MacDill Housing – WFLA.com

More Than Half of Families Surveyed at MacDill AFB Complain of Mold – FOX 13 News

Mold in Homes Still Impacting Military Families – WTSP.com

‘Despicable’: Mold Problems Still an Issue for Families at MacDill AFB – WFLA.com

Lead Attorneys

Shanon J. Carson Headshot

Shanon J. Carson

Managing Shareholder
E. Michelle Drake Headshot

E. Michelle Drake

Shareholder
Glen Abramson Headshot

Glen L. Abramson

Shareholder
Lane Vines Headshot

Lane L. Vines

Senior Counsel

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