Hudson pair sues builder over mold

By ANDREW WOLFE, Telegraph Staff

NASHUA – A Hudson couple charges that a local builder skimped on construction of their house, resulting in an outbreak of toxic mold.

Edward and Joan Marden, of 2 Nathaniel Drive, sued Sousa Realty and Development Corp., of 46 Lowell Road in Hudson, in November in Hillsborough County Superior Court.

Their lawsuit claims the roof and attic of the house Sousa built for them didn’t meet town building codes. Sousa disputes the couple’s claims, and contends state law bars any claims for faulty construction more than eight years after a building is completed.

A hearing is scheduled Wednesday on the Mardens’ request for a $500,000 attachment against the company.

The Mardens declined to discuss the case. Sousa’s lawyer, Loren Rosson of Nashua, also declined to comment on the suit.

Sousa objects to the attachment, according to court files, arguing it’s unlikely the Mardens will win the case, but that if they do, the company has enough assets and insurance to cover any judgment.

The Mardens bought the house and lot from Sousa on Jan. 28, 1993, after contracting to have Sousa build the house the previous September, their suit states.

Last April, nearly 10 years later, the couple discovered mold in the attic, along the underside of the roofing and on the rafters. They later discovered the mold had spread further into the house as well, their suit states.

The suit doesn’t specify how the couple discovered the mold, or what, if anything, they did about it.

The suit also doesn’t specify what kind of mold they found, but their lawyer, Ernest Jette of Nashua, said it was a toxic variety. Jette could not be reached last week for further comment on the case.

The Mardens charge Sousa didn’t install a layer of rolled felt paper under the shingles of their roof, as both the town building code and roofing manufacturers require, or any ice and water barrier.

The suit charges Sousa put the underlying material around the edges of the roof, however, to make it appear that the entire roof was covered.

The lack of that protective layer allowed water to seep through the roof, they charge. They also charge that the attic of their house lacked adequate ventilation, so that moisture couldn’t evaporate.

The suit charges that Sousa violated state consumer protection law, as well as the contract to build the house, and seeks compensation for the expense of getting rid of the mold and rebuilding the house, as well as for injuries and medical treatment. The suit doesn’t specify how the family was injured.

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