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Lazy Landlord Cost Him Leg, Tenant Claims

HOUSTON (CN) - After his landlord refused to unclog his toilet, a man says, he cut himself while clipping his toenails, the wound became infected by contact with the contaminated carpet, gangrene developed and the lower part of his leg had to be amputated.

Oscar Batres says the Dartford Square Apartments did not respond to his requests to unclog the downstairs toilet in his apartment, so he bought a plunger and tried to do it himself.

"As plaintiff was in the process of unclogging the toilet, the water in the toilet commenced to overflow," Batres says in his complaint in Harris County Court,

He shut off the water supply but the toilet continued to overflow, filled his bathroom and soaked the carpet in the master bedroom, Batres says.

"Finally after about 10 minutes, the toilet stopped overflowing," Batres says. "The liquid coming out of the toilet was brown and clearly contained feces."

Batres says he cleaned the bathroom floor and the 3 feet of contaminated carpet as best he could, and the next day he told management that their failure to repair his toilet had caused it to overflow, and asked them to clean his carpet.

"Over a month later, and after several requests by plaintiff and constant visits to the management office, the management finally cleaned his carpet on Jan. 9, 2010, but it was too late," Batres says.

Three days after his toilet overflowed, Batres cut himself while trimming his toenails in the bathroom. He used over-the-counter ointment on it but his toe and part of his foot turned red, he developed a fever and flulike symptoms, and went to emergency room, he says.

Tests showed that he had gangrene and on Dec. 15, 2009 his right leg was amputated below the knee. It was a little over 2 weeks since his toilet overflowed.

"The specimen taken at the hospital revealed the plaintiff's infection and eventual leg amputation was caused due to an infection caused by bacteria commonly found in feces," Batres says.

On Jan. 9, 2010, more than 2 weeks after his lower leg had been amputated, Batres says, Dartford Square Apartments finally cleaned his carpet.

Batres seeks damages for breach of contract, negligence, gross negligence, breach of habitability, Texas property code violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

He is represented by David Van Susteren.

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