Tenant Wins $28.5 Million Verdict

 A Wyoming federal court jury has awarded $28.5 million to a Casper, Wyo. woman who was poisoned by carbon monoxide in her apartment.

The tenant was poisoned by her furnace, and suffered permanent brain damage, according to a statement by her attorneys.

The tenant’s attorneys, The Spence Law Firm of Jackson, Wyo., alleged that the apartment owner and manager ignored warnings that the complex’s furnaces were outdated, dangerous, and needed to be maintained or replaced.

A U.S. District Court Judge entered the judgment of $2.7 million in compensatory damages and $25.5 million in punitive damages against the property owner, and a Salt Lake City-based company that managed the apartments.

The three-week trial included evidence that tenants were not warned after a maintenance employee suffered carbon monoxide poisoning in 2009. The tenant’s attorneys raised allegations that incident photos and witness statements were altered, fabricated, or destroyed as part of a cover-up during the litigation. The furnace from the tenant’s unit also disappeared, her lawyers said.

According to testimony, approximately half of the apartments in the complex did not have functional carbon monoxide detectors.

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