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Roger Pardieck: Floyd jury awards $23 million in lawsuit against apartment complex

By Harold J. Adams

In a lawsuit filed 14 years ago, a Floyd County jury has awarded $23.5 million to a New Albany family

for severe illnesses to two children caused by a pesticide that was sprayed in their Prestwick Square

apartments unit in the mid-1990s.

The award came Thursday in a trial that didn’t begin until Aug. 17, following years of motions and

delays. It is expected to be appealed.

Richard Mullineaux, the attorney for Prestwick Square, did not return a call Friday to his office.

Todd and Cynthia Ebling and their children, Christina, then 2 years old, and Alex, then 6 months old,

moved into Prestwick Square in February 1994. Soon, both children began to suffer seizures and

other neurological problems.

According to the Eblings’ attorneys, the children’s problems were caused by exposure to Creal-O, a

chemical based on the pesticide Diazinon. The Environmental Protection Agency banned the

pesticide from residential use in 2004.

Roger Pardieck, the attorney who filed the suit for the Eblings, said the chemical was applied in the

wrong way, even though it was legal for residential use at the time.

“There was more applied than should have been applied, and it was applied in a careless manner,”

Pardieck said.

He said a “crack and crevice” application of the pesticide should have been made. Instead, he said, it

was applied “on the baseboards, ran down onto the carpeting (and) splashed up on the wall

coverings. That’s a misapplication.”

Christina Ebling, now 20, is developmentally no more than a 2-year-old, her mother said during an

interview Friday.

“She can feed herself, but that’s about it,” Cynthia Ebling said. “She can’t dress herself, undress

herself, brush her teeth, brush her hair, shower herself—basically everything but feeding has to be

done by somebody else.”

Alex, now 17 and a student in the 11th grade, has athletic physical ability but is delayed academically

and socially, his parents said.

“He’s a big follower and really doesn’t know how to distrust anybody or doesn’t know how to judge

somebody whether they’re good or bad,” said Todd Ebling.

The Eblings divorced during the years it took to bring the case to trial, and they now share the care of

Christina and Alex.

“It’s been devastating,” Cynthia Ebling said of the effect on her and her ex-husband. “Our lives will

never be the same.”

She said their son and daughter “haven’t been the same since the first seizure.”

Christina slept on a metal daybed when they moved into the apartment, her mother said, and it would

start to squeak at night.

“That would wake us up, the squeaking,” Cynthia Ebling said. “She would wake up moaning and she

would convulse.”

At the same time, Alex was also showing symptoms, his parents said. Still, they said, it took months

before doctors diagnosed the problem and experts traced it to the chemical.

The Eblings moved out of the apartment in January 1995 before their lease ended.

The Floyd Superior Court jury that heard the case, with Judge Susan Orth presiding, awarded

$500,000 each to Todd and Cynthia Ebling, $16 million to Christina Ebling and $6.5 million to Alex


Projected future medical costs for Christina are about $14 million, Pardieck and co-counsel Matthew

Schad said. But they said it would likely be a long time before any money changes hands because of

anticipated appeals.

Prestwick Square apartments still operates in New Albany under the same ownership as when the

Eblings lived there, the couple’s lawyers said.

“I just hope that this is a wake-up call for some people and that nobody ever should have to go

through this,” Cynthia Ebling said.

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