The "Farmers Insurance News-Alert" website is dedicated to providing the consumer and general public with detailed information concerning the Farmers Insurance Group. This includes fraud reports, consumer complaints, lawsuit's and other legal actions taken against this company. All information contained herein is for educational purposes only. Original sources, when known are sited.


Our client has filed a $100+ million civil suit against Farmers and has filed criminal charges against two Farmers employees. In this connection we have issued two press releases which we would like to get up on yout website.

How might we accomplish this? (I am NOT a techie propeller-head, so please be gentle.)
We are told that the DA has appointed a special prosecutor -- on the criminal charges -- and that the state dept. of insurance is conducting a criminal fraud investigation. We've gotten a lot of "air" on a local TV affiliate. One of the criminal charges is "endangerment to a child" which is a Class 1 Felony. Thanks for your help.

Cordially yours,

Mike Bruneau
The Lund Group


Texas Homeowner Files Criminal Complaint Against Farmers Insurance Employees: Says Delays Caused Deadly Neuro-Toxin Infestation of Her House

May 28, 1999 12:47


DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas, May 28 -- Melinda Ballard, a local resident has filed a criminal complaint (case # 99-12576) with the Hays County Sheriff's office against two Farmers Insurance Group employees. Ms. Ballard cited the insurance company's personnel's negligence in settling a claim, which resulted in an infestation of her home by a deadly neuro-toxin called "Stachybotrys," which caused her and her entire family -- including a three-year-old child -- to become sick.

"My family and I have been living a nightmare for five months because of Farmers Insurance. Yet Therese McConnell, the Farmers claims adjuster (and one of the employees against whom the complaint was filed), was told early-on that delaying the repairs could result in the growth of dangerous mold."

According to Richard Roberts of Double R Hardwood Floors, Inc., Wimberley, Texas, a contractor asked to inspect the problem, "In early January, I had conversations with Teresa (sic) McConnell about my concerns about removing all the wood floor, and expressed my concerns throughout January about the potential growth of mold. Repeatedly, I warned (her) during telephone conversations that dangerous molds could grow if the flooring and sub-flooring was not pulled up."

According to numerous reputable scientists, Stachybotrys grows easily in wet building materials such as plywood, particle board, sheetrock and gypsum board. It attacks the lungs, the liver and the kidneys. Ms. Ballard says, "Farmers' delay in repairing the damage caused by my interior plumbing leak allowed this highly hazardous fungus to grow, spewing extremely toxic spores into the air that made us all sick with flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath, labored breathing, muscle weakness, coughing up blood and skin rashes. The entire family is having to go through extensive medical testing to determine the extent of the damage done by this deadly mycotoxin.

"Stachybotrys may not be a household word, but it should be. Used as a biological war weapon by the Russians in Afghanistan, it has sickened people all over this country -- even killing over a dozen children in Cleveland." In fact, just recently, tenants of a 400-unit complex on Second Avenue in New York City filed a $8 billion lawsuit against the apartment complex owner, alleging that the owner knew from a 1996 environmental report he commissioned, that Stachybotrys was present in the building, yet did not evacuate the complex. Several tenants had their health severely affected and one child died because of the exposure, according to a May 18, 1999 article in the New York Daily News.

"We had to evacuate our home last month after tests by microbiologists from Texas Tech University confirmed high levels of this toxin that were airborne and aggressive. The Farmers-hired microbiologist also found Stachybotrys in our home.

"It's going to cost at least $1 million just to get personnel trained in hazardous materials handling to come in wearing protective suits and HEPA respirators and remove all the infested building material and take it to a designated disposal area.

"I am outraged on behalf of my family because we never should have had to go through this. Farmers Insurance should be ashamed of itself." Ms. Ballard pointed out that tens of thousands of other people may be suffering from Stachybotrys, but just don't know it. "It's like E-coli: you may not even realize it's there until you get sick from it."

Farmers Insurance Group is owned by Zurich Financial Services Group, which is traded on the London and Zurich stock exchanges.

NOTE: Information on the threat of Stachybotrys is available from the CDC, the EPA, OSHA, the New York City Department of Health, and others. Just some of the websites that provide information on this toxin include:

SOURCE Melinda Ballard

/CONTACT: Mike Bruneau or Bea Lund of The Lund Group, Inc., 212-949-1562,
fax - 212-949-0189,, Weekends: 203-972-8501, fax -
203-972-8569, for Melinda Ballard; or Melinda Ballard, mobile - 512-791-0054/


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