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Larry Pinto — Pest Management Professional (PMP)

Bed Bug University—Pest World Conference

Bed Bug Litigation

Larry Pinto is another bed bug go-to guy. He spoke about bed bug litigation and had similar comments to what Gail Getty said earlier. One thing he sees in court cases is that the property management will argue they are not the experts and do not know anything about bed bugs and expected PMP to take care of the issue. They claim if they failed to act properly it was not their fault.

Another example of court cases is when they claim that the standards of care were not met. As PMP we must rely on the developed methodologies for treating bed bugs which have been tried and tested within our industry. Be sure that what you do has scientific basis and is a common practice within our industry. The courts will be looking at management companies to see if they acted with reasonable practice. You may find yourself brought into the case and need to be sure that you have accurate, dated, legible, documentation.

This is the #1 reason that PMPs get into trouble: poor documentation or documentation that is illegible. For example, if you found bed bugs and recommended that the management allow you to inspect the upper, lower and side units and this was declined then your documentation should state this.

Bed Bug Court Cases and Pest Management Professionals

Another type of court case seen is when the case states onerous and excessive. This was seen when a tenant was told by the Pest Management Professional and the property management to throw away anything that was infested with the bed bugs. The tenant thought that everything must be infested and threw away everything. Court ruled that this had not been necessary and damages were awarded in the five digit area for tenant to purchase new furnishings and belongings.

Basically some management companies have begun to self treat based on what they have seen the PMP do. In addition they may go online to buy actual chemicals or buy from the Home Depot. If management is putting chemicals on mattresses which are not labeled for mattress use then they are breaking the law.

Another occurred when PMP stated that tenant failed to follow the preparation list prior to treatment. The PMP checklist required that client take all the bolts off the bedframe, turn all dressers upside down, lift and turn all sofas, etc.( I personally can think of several occasions where tenants have not been able to do any type of prep work due to their illness or age and in those situations management has been informed to plan for extra time to do the prep before the crew starts to do a heat treatment.)(One situation was so severe that the crew went to Myrtle Beach, SC the day before the planned heat treatment in order to prep the residence in order that heat treatment could be successful.)

Mr. Pinto went on to say that the court ruled that requiring so much prep be done by the customer was indeed too much preparation on the part of the tenant and tenant’s failure to lift and turn and break apart all items was not an excuse for bed bug treatment failure. Overall, you want to show that you are professionally advising clients correctly and documenting what happens.

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