The Brooks family may have dreamed of retiring in their new home, happy and healthy. (Which is good, considering 81% of retirees claim good health is the key to a happy retirement.) Instead, they were met with a nasty surprise. In a recent report from the Washington Post a Maryland couple is filing a $2 million lawsuit against their next-door neighbor, after learning that the home they’d recently purchased was full of snakes.
When Jody and Jeffrey Brooks initially bought the $410,000 home — which should have been a nice buy, with the median sale price of new homes at $136,000 as of 2015 — they found snake leavings (and bodies) in the walls and insulation. But then actual live snakes, some of them up to seven feet long, started slithering out of the walls.
The Brooks, who have a four-year-old son and a nine-month-old daughter, had to pay more than $61,000 just to rid the house of the snakes and begin the cleanup – -but not before taking matters into their own hands, as the New York Daily News reports that Jeffrey Brooks carried a machete through the house to kill the unwelcome visitors. Though they had to endure the process of de-snaking their new home, and trying to relocate their children, it looks like the couple won’t be receiving any legal compensation for their efforts. The next-door neighbor/real estate agent’s legal representation had this to say:
“The Contract contains a mandatory mediation clause that requires mediation of all disputes or claims arising out of the Contract within one year following settlement….The contract calls for the two sides to use a neutral mediator who is authorized to facilitate the resolution of the dispute. ”
In short, the couple had accidentally signed away their right to take any undisclosed snake infestations to court. Not only that, but the issue would have to be settled one-on-one with the assistance of a “neutral mediator.” (Does that mean he’s on the snakes’ side?)
The agent’s attorney also commented, “we are not interested in having the case tried in the media anymore than it already has been.”