Two military families are suing a government contractor for exposing them to dangerous levels of mold inside military housing on Camp Pendleton.
The lawsuits against Lincoln Military Property Management were filed less than three months after the company was ordered to pay another military family $2 million for exposing them to mold.
“We noticed our son having a harder time focusing at school and we didn’t make the connection,” said Valerie Clover, describing what she noticed in her then-6-year-old son shortly after moving into 296 Tierra Blanca Avenue on Camp Pendleton. “He also started having severe eczema flare-ups in the crux of his arms.”
The Clover’s are one of two families who have filed lawsuits in state court over what they consider to be negligence, fraud, and premises liability against the government contractor that supplies housing on and off Marine Corps bases throughout the country.
Clover says she and her husband notified Lincoln about mold on the window sills just days after they moved into their former home in July 2014.
Over the course of the following year, the family called the property management company to complain about the mold and small leaks they found at the home. They said maintenance workers would come and simply spray bleach on the walls and call it a day, the family says.
“They would come and tighten something or they would spray bleach on the wood or the drywall and then say the job was complete,” said Clover.
But meanwhile, the couple’s young son’s condition went from skin rashes to lung infections to displaying fits of rage and nervous facial tics.
“He was in little league. My husband was the coach and then all of a sudden he was a completely different child,” said the mother of two.
The Clover’s then decided to take their son to a specialist for his behavioral issues. The specialist ran tests and gave the family the news.
“He checked every box for mold poisoning,” Clover said of the results. “It came back that he had three or four different types of mold living inside his body.”
That mold, said Clover, likely was the cause of her son’s health condition.
“We are doing this for our son...for justice. We are doing this to help pave the way for other families that are having to deal with similar issues with Lincoln. There are others, we are confident there are,” added Clover.
But the Clover’s aren’t the only ones looking to hold Lincoln accountable for putting their family’s health at risk.
In a second lawsuit, another family who did not want to be identified said they noticed mold inside their home upon moving into their home in January 2019.
According to that lawsuit, the home felt humid and damp. fruit left on the counter at night would have spores of mold growing out of it by the next morning.
The family notified Lincoln but were told to “purchase mold spray and clean it” themselves, said the lawsuit.
Not long after the couple’s child became sick, symptoms from previously diagnosed-autism grew worse, the lawsuit alleges. Other family members experienced severe rashes on their skin. Nine months after allegedly reporting the conditions to Lincoln, the family was allowed to move into a hotel and later a new home.
“As a landlord, Lincoln had a duty to protect those tenants and that’s what should have been done," said Lenden Webb, attorney for both families. Instead of doing a ‘my nose knows,’ they should have done legitimate tests to ensure the safety and well-being of these families.”
NBC 7 Investigates reached out to Lincoln for a comment on the two lawsuits but calls were not returned.
Eric Norvell, co-counsel for the family, says Lincoln should be held to a higher standard. “These are families that have sacrificed a lot and are held to the highest levels of accountability in the world and Lincoln should hold themselves to the same standard.”