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Tenant blames husband/wife landlords for causing injuries

By Jenie Mallari-Torres | Oct 6, 2017

CLEARWATER — A St. Pete Beach tenant is suing her landlords, alleging their negligence caused her to suffer injuries.

Vilija Butas filed a complaint Sept. 12, in Pinellas County Circuit Court against JH Gardner Gould and Rita Gould, alleging they failed to use ordinary care to maintain an apartment premises in a safe condition.

According to the complaint, on July 11, 2015, Butas entered into a lease contract with defendants for property at 105 26th Ave.,St. Pete Beach. On Dec. 28, 2015.  while already on the premises as a tenant,  the suit says Butas moved a deck chair to pick up a box. The lawsuit says her left foot fell through rotted wood planks in the deck where the chair had been placed by the defendants. 

The suit says Butas suffered bodily injury, pain, disability, disfigurement, medical costs and loss of earning capacity after JH Gardner Gould had assured her that the deck was safe and habitable. 

The plaintiff alleges the defendants failed to ensure that the back deck of the St. Pete Beach apartment was free of hazards, allowed a hazardous condition to exist, and failed to warn Butas of the dangerous condition.

Butas seeks trial by jury, damages of more than $15,000, exclusive of interest and costs. She is represented by attorney Brett Berger of Maney & Gordon PA in Tampa.

Pinellas County Circuit Court case number 17-C-5606

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