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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Rutland Couple Settles Bedbug Lawsuit For $450,000

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Nina Keck
/
VPR
Neil Whitney gazes at the house he had to flee in April 2013, after high levels of the banned pesticide chlorpyrifos were found throuhout the home.

A Rutland couple who was suing the state over a botched bed bug extermination has reached a settlement in the case. 

Neil and Patricia Whitney, long time foster parents in Rutland, agreed to drop their lawsuit against the state Department for Children and Families, the state agency of Human Services and several state officials for $450-thousand dollars. 

In April 2013, the Whitneys, their teenage son and a foster daughter had to flee their Rutland City home after state inspectors found high levels of a banned and potentially harmful pesticide. DCF officials in Rutland had hired Cary Buck, the exterminator who allegedly used the chemicals. 

The state has paid for temporary housing for the Whitneys, but the couple’s attorney, Karl Anderson, says the family’s life has been turned upside down.  He says the settlement will provide a fresh start. “Given the fact that they’ve essentially lost their home it’ll give them a chance to get another home, have a little cushion to make up for the losses that they’ve sustained.”

Human Services Secretary Doug Racine, DCF Commissioner Dave Yacavone and John Zalenski, former head of DCF’s Rutland District office were among those named in the suit.

Assistant Attorney General Eve Jacobs-Carnahan who represented the state, says none of the officials targeted by the lawsuit admitted any wrongdoing.  But she says the state agreed to the settlement to help the Whitneys move on.

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