- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A class-action lawsuit accuses the city of Des Moines of not properly handling an extended bedbug infestation at a housing complex for low-income elderly and disabled people.

The lawsuit claims the city’s public housing agency created bad living conditions for Royal View Manor residents by not eradicating or warning residents about the bugs, The Des Moines Register (https://dmreg.co/1ud4GEA ) reported.

The suit, filed Wednesday in Polk County District Court, involves 55 current and former residents. It said the pests were found in 2007 and were reported several times to the Des Moines Municipal Housing Agency.

City Attorney Jeff Lester declined to comment on the case Friday because he hadn’t received the lawsuit yet.

Plaintiffs are seeking compensation for violation of a rental agreement, but the lawsuit didn’t list a specific dollar amount. The lawsuit also asks the court to immediately order the Des Moines Municipal Housing Agency to eliminate the bugs at the nine-story apartment tower built in 1973.

Orna Tigner, 53, said her skin is covered in scars from bedbug bites suffered earlier this month. She moved to the housing complex in 2010 after an ex-boyfriend hit her, leaving her disabled.

“They’re very painful. They itch. They fester up,” she said, noting that no one told her about the bedbugs when she moved into her apartment. “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

Tigner said exterminators regularly come to Royal View Manor, but that residents are still finding new infestations.

“I’m so sleep-deprived,” she said. “I’m up four or five times a night flipping over my pillows and looking around. It’s made me crazy.”


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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