NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (CN) - A dentist claims in court that he had to abandon his office because of an overwhelming infestation of rats, who died in droves, appeared "in various stages of death," and left rat feces all over his medical instruments.
Fred Foxx DDS and Beach Dental Group sued Sutton Properties, Indian River Village Shopping Center, and Robert and Sam Sutton, in Volusia County Court.
Foxx claims his landlords failed to maintain the property in habitable condition.
Foxx had leased the space since 2008, but in February 2011, he says, the office and surrounding buildings became infested with "sundry vermin," predominantly rats.
Foxx says the defendants promised to send an exterminator, but "It took several calls to the landlord before anything was actually done."
By the time the exterminator showed up, Foxx says, "there were rats in the walls, in the ceiling, and even seen throughout the dental offices by the employees working there. The dental staff had to take time every morning to disinfect and clean the dental equipment due to rat feces everywhere."
Then it got worse: "After the poison was placed in the building, the rats began to die in inaccessible areas in the ceiling and walls," Foxx says. "The stench was so unbearable that the offices had to be closed by midday, resulting in a loss of production in excess of fifty percent (50%). The employees tried to cover the odor with sprays and candles, to no avail.
"Plaintiffs could no longer practice the medicine of dentistry with the smell of dying rodents permeating the air, the appearance of rodents in various stages of death, rodent feces throughout the office, and any hope of sterility unobtainable."
Foxx seeks $55,000 in lost revenue, $37,000 in relocation costs and wants his $4,500 security deposit back.
He is represented by Paul Kwilecki of Daytona Beach.
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