National News

Multiple lawsuits filed over brown recluse infestation

Posted July 13, 2018 10:44 a.m. EDT

— Two women have filed lawsuits against a Hermitage apartment complex over a brown recluse spider infestation.

Ginger Wright said she warned management at Oakwell Farms apartments about her fear of spiders before she moved in May 2013.

"When I was a child my dad got bit by a brown recluse spider and I saw what it did and that's why I had a diagnosis of Arachnophobia," said Wright. "He had a hole as big of a grapefruit on his leg and it took months and months to heal."

Wright said within a day of moving into her apartment, she noticed a spider. From there, it only got worse.

"I would put glue traps out around the bed and sometimes whenever we would get up the next morning we would find 50 spiders in the glue traps," Wright said. "It was just terrifying not knowing where spiders were going to be, if they were going to be on you while you were trying to sleep."

Wright moved out of her apartment by July 2013 and paid roughly $4,000 to break her lease. She just filed a lawsuit a couple weeks ago against Oakwell Farms.

"I tried to give them a chance to make things better with the spraying and the pest control and when nothing improved and the problems continued to the extent that they were was just ridiculous and I couldn't do it anymore," Wright said.

News4 has learned Melissa Putnik is also suing Oakwell Farms.

In the lawsuit, Putnik said a brown recluse bit her on the neck and claims she saw more than 50 of the spiders in just over one month.

"Brown recluses are around but to the extent of an infestation is just ridiculous, and tenants should know if a place where they're moving in has an infestation because of the dangers of the poisonous spiders," said Wright.

Dr. Frank Hale, a professor of entomology with the University of Tennessee, said brown recluses are especially active during the summer months when it's warmer.