Article Courtesy of Local 10 News -- ABC
By Amy Viteri
Published July 23, 2018
FORT LAUDERDALE - Annette Davis struggled to understand what was happening
to her body.
For some time she had been living with a condition called chronic fatigue
syndrome, but she was managing it with medication. Then in 2014, something
"I couldn't explain it. I just dropped so much weight. I
got down to 97 pounds," Davis said. "I started cracking teeth because I was
anemic. I had my hair falling out."
The trouble started after February 2014. A water cooling
tower on the roof of her condominium building, the Tides at BridgeSide
Square in Fort Lauderdale, ruptured and dumped water into the
"I just started hearing what sounded like 30 bathtubs at once pouring behind
my wall," Davis said.
Davis got sicker but the cause was a mystery until 2017, when medical tests
found toxins in her system that had been caused by fungus. She asked the
condo management to test for mold behind
the walls of her unit.
"What he found was aspergillus, which is also what was
found in my body," Davis said.
A note from Davis' doctor states that aspergillus exposure probably occurred
in her apartment.
Mold professionals said that when water is behind walls, equipment such as
dehumidifiers and air movers are not enough to prevent mold.
"You definitely need to access that wall cavity," Pat Caiazza, of South
Florida Mold and Restoration, told Local 10 News. "It's a necessity."
Caiazza, a state-licensed mold remediator, said creating airflow behind the
wall is critical.
"If you don't dry that out, eventually, soon you're going to get mold," he
said. "It will happen."
Photos from court documents show that Alliance Rostoration removed parts of
the wall in other units, but did not do so in Davis' apartment, even though
they billed for the exact same work.
"This company did the work in the Tides in my client's unit without a
license, without the proper insurance," Mitch Chusid, Davis' attorney, said.
Chusid said AKAM Living Services was negligent by hiring Alliance
Restoration to do the work.
Alliance Restoration's website lists mold remediation among its services.
While the company has a license as a general contractor, it does not have a
mold remediation license for any of the
employees who worked in Davis' condo.
No one at the company's Boca Raton office would comment on the lawsuit.
Aspergillus can be particularly dangerous for someone like Davis, who
already had a compromised immune system. She now requires grueling monthly
"Every three weeks, I'll have to be hooked up to my IV pole for eight hours
a day," Davis said.
She wants others to know more than she did.
"If you're immune compromised and you're exposed to mold, it can kill you,"
Davis said. "I'll be dealing with this for the rest of my life."
An attorney representing the Tides said the condo building had no comment on
the pending litigation.
Things to look for when hiring a mold professional:
Make sure they are licensed by the state of Florida
by checking the Department of Business & Professional Regulations.
The state licenses individuals, not entire companies
for mold related services. Though many professionals say there is little
oversight checking in on those operating without the required license.
Ask if the contractor is insured specifically for
mold remediation work.
Remember mold inspectors and mold remediators are two
different things. A mold inspector can inspect, take samples, review
results, write recommendations and do clearance inspections. A
remediator is the contractor who carries out the project work to remove