The jury in the case found that the landlord, Sadiq Saferzadeh, concealed information about the water damage in the house. They also found that his conduct breached the implied warranty of habitability for homes in California.
An attorney for the Fetzers, Court B. Purdy, said that Saferzadeh could have hired a roofing contractor to repair the roof and a licensed plumber to fix the pipes in the house. He could have also updated the windows so that they wouldn’t leak on the sides.
“We even found within our documentation that the Realtor who sold the property himself had spoken with Mr. Saferzadeh about the repairs that needed to be made,” Purdy claimed. “The owner instead ignored the mold problems, because the home was expensive to repair.”
Saferzadeh’s attorney, Tom Ely, said there was no clear evidence that mold had infested the house. According to Ely, Saferzadeh didn’t find any mold when he bought the house and said that the previous tenant had not complained about mold. Ely also said that Lauren Fetzer’s illness was extremely rare, so it was unlikely that she had caught the disease from the mold in the house.
“The Fetzers brought five experts, involved in plumbing and construction, to testify about the condition of the house, and no one found any indication of mold,” Ely said. “Of course, there’s mold everywhere around a house, but there’s no real proof that the mold had caused this particular family to catch the disease. And there’s more moisture around houses near the coast, such as those in Laguna Beach, so mold tends to grow in these types of places.”
Ely said that he has filed an appeal for a new trial in May. According to Ely, the trial was an unpleasant experience for Saferzadeh. Ely doesn’t know what Saferzadeh plans to do with the house.
“I don’t really know what his plans are with the house,” Ely said. “I’m sure he would like to sell it, but in this current housing market, I don’t know if he’ll be able to sell it at the right price.”