A recent settlement will require pest-exterminating giant Orkin to repair a termite-ravaged condominium complex in Sumter County, Florida. This could cost the company an estimated $6 million in “fix-up costs.” The pest damage was at the Sandalwood Condominium Association at Wildwood, a 104-unit residential community. Peter M. Cardillo, known as the “bug lawyer,” specializes in termite cases. He says Orkin failed to properly treat Sandalwood’s 13 residential buildings and clubhouse, rid the complex of the wood-eating pests or live up to other promises and guarantees in its contract.
The settlement came as a civil trial was set to begin this month. Orkin was charged with criminal racketeering, breach of repair, breach of duty and false advertising — for which punitive damages could have been awarded, had the case gone to trial.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed eight years ago in Circuit Court in Sumter County, the condominium association accused Orkin of violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Under terms of the settlement, Orkin also agreed to pay the condominium association $815,000. Cardillo had reached earlier settlements on behalf of the condominium association from Sandalwood’s insurers that were worth more than $2 million. Orkin attempted to avoid liability for termite damage by arguing that water leaked in and around the buildings, fostering the infestations that caused concern for Sumter County building inspectors.
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