Snakes in a House

Slithering settlement

Jody Brooks sat on the basement floor unpacking her family’s belongings into their new home. She heard rustling overhead and recognized it as the familiar sound of her children playing upstairs. She was, however, horrified to discover that it was actually a snake’s belly slithering through the ceiling above her. Jody and her husband, Jeff Brooks, had just purchased this home in Annapolis, MD for $410,000. They had moved in with their two children.

After an 8-inch rat snake was found on a sticky pad in their basement, the couple began a snake program with Home Paramount Pest Control. Exterminators found more skins and snake feces. Much to their devastation, the house has been declared infested and unsafe for children by a snake inspector. The Brooks family is horrified by the continued findings that have forced them out of their newly purchased home. “You’re staring at financial ruin,” Jody says. “What do you do with two kids? This was our 20-year house. Now, we’re maxed out.”

They are seeking to rescind the purchase and return the house, or two million dollars, more than four times the price of the house, in their lawsuit against their real estate agent Barbara Van Horn, and former homeowner Joan Broseker. Ms. Broseker is also the mother of Barbara Van Horn. According to the lawsuit, Van Horn refused to keep a lock box on the house. Instead, she would arrive early and ensure there were no snakes before others entered the house. She has refused to comment. An attorney for Van Horn and Champion Realty says the company doesn’t comment on ongoing litigation.
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