2 women regrouping in suit over bug bites

Staff WriterApril 4, 2008 

— Two women who had been itching for relief from a local motel have dropped a $4.5 million lawsuit that alleged a voracious assault by bedbugs.

But Eric Michaux, the Durham lawyer representing the women, said that even though he is dropping this case now, he plans to file another suit with similar claims.

The case has been through seven judges since it was filed three years ago.

On Feb. 27, 2004, Patrena Caviness and Rashika Roberts, both of Greensboro, checked into the Days Inn at 3460 Hillsborough Road and were given several rooms.

In one of the rooms, the lawsuit claimed, the women found bloodstains on the walls, rat droppings in the bath and bugs in their beds. When they complained about the conditions, they were told to get out, according to the lawsuit.

When they first got to the motel, the suit said, Caviness and Roberts were given a room they claim had mildew stains. After being given a second room, one of the women woke up the next morning with "a bug crawling over her face near her mouth," the lawsuit said. It also said one of the women later found red bumps on her body that a doctor diagnosed as bedbug bites.

The women complained to the front desk clerk and asked to be moved to another motel or get their money back, the suit said. They eventually were asked to leave, according to the suit.

The women sought money for breach of contract, fraud, negligence, gross negligence, emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, punitive damages and unfair trade practices.

A lawyer representing the motel said the suit appeared more like a customer complaint that had been turned into a lawsuit.

Bedbugs have made a comeback internationally and domestically, according to pest control experts.

The bloodsuckers are tiny and persistent, and they don't live just in beds, pest control workers say. They can hide behind headboards, in carpeting and in tiny crevices in furniture. They've even been found under clock radios and lamps.

anne.blythe@newsobserver.com or (919) 932-8741

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