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Judge’s Death Leads to Courthouse Mold Fears

Posted Sep 12, 2007 6:16 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A mold problem in a Miami federal courthouse has spurred studies and warnings from the chief judge, who told clerks they should use masks and gloves when handling documents that may be coated with the stuff.

Concerns increased after Magistrate Judge Ted Klein died of a respiratory illness last year and officials at the David W. Dyer courthouse closed off his courtroom, the Miami Daily Business Review reports. The room remains unused.

Two studies commissioned after Klein became ill found significant mold and safety issues at the historic courthouse, built in 1933 and damaged in Hurricane Wilma. The Spanish-style building, known for an ornate ceremonial courtroom, is used to house magistrate court.

A new study will be performed by a company that performed mold remediation work at a West Palm Beach courthouse.

Several court personnel have complained of respiratory illnesses, nasal bleeding and severe allergies. One judicial assistant saw a photo of her chair in one of the studies and learned it had been labeled “mold infested.”

“A tour of the courthouse Tuesday revealed areas of ceiling tiles falling in, furniture falling apart, old, musty-smelling carpets, rusted water pipes and peeling wallpaper,” according to the publication.

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