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19 Current and Former Employees Sue, Calling Broward County Courthouse a ‘Sick’ Building

Posted Feb 22, 2012 6:04 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Contending that the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is infested with toxic mold and asbestos fibers, 19 current and former employees are suing.

They are seeking not only financial compensation for alleged health problems caused by the "sick" building but medical monitoring and a safe work environment, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The suits blame the claimed hazardous condition of the courthouse on damage from hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005 and subsequent cleanup efforts.

A new $328 courthouse is planned for Broward County, but construction has been delayed. However, officials say the old courthouse is safe in the meantime.

In court documents, Broward County denies that toxic mold or floating asbestos fibers are present in the building and says sovereign immunity protects the government from having to pay significant damages. It also denies that officials should have done more testing and warned employees of potential environmental hazards, the newspaper recounts.

Because all the Broward County judges have recused themselves, although none are plaintiffs in the litigation, it is being handled in Miami-Dade County.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Moldy Courthouses an Issue in Fla."

ABAJournal.com: "Neighboring Fla. Jurists Move Chambers After Death of Colleague, Citing Mold Concern"

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