The harsh truth when you discover you home is a former meth lab

Services for Real Estate Pros with Buchheit & McCoy, PC

By way of background, The Frankl Law Firm provides exceptional, experienced legal resources to individuals whose lives have been tragically altered by one of the most insidious concerns sweeping across the Nation: methamphetamine contamination. With over two decades of trial experience, we have been able to force insurance companies to make good on the promises set forth in their policies when people need their help the most.


With methamphetamine contamination cases, traditionally the scenario plays out like this: You purchase a home after your home inspector gives it a clean bill of health. You move into the home. A few months pass. Your child develops rashes on her arms and legs. Or your dog develops sores on his paws. Or you find that it’s becoming difficult to breathe. You’re curious, but have no reason to think your home is contaminated. Eventually, your health deteriorates to the point you seek medical treatment. The doctor performs numerous tests and shocks you when he says, “You need to have your home tested for methamphetamine contamination.” How could this be possible? How could my home be contaminated?


The Frankl Law Firm has also found the same scenario unfolds when a family buys a property and rents it. The tenants pass a strenuous background check. They appear to be upstanding citizens. They move in and at the end of their lease, they move out. You suspect nothing. But they left behind a home that is toxic and uninhabitable.


This same phenomenon is playing out in hotels and motels across America. People check in for a few hours or days and then they check out. And during their stay, they were manufacturing one of the most poisonous substances imaginable. The smoke and caustic chemical fumes seep into the walls. The room itself has become deadly.


These circumstances happen on a daily basis in homes and apartments in every single state in the U.S. Don’t think these are isolated incidents. It was recently estimated that there are approximately 600,000 clandestine meth labs in America. The DEA seized roughly 7,000 meth labs last year. It is happening in up-scale neighborhoods and suburban settings where people take their safety and health for granted – until of course, this destructive force enters their lives unannounced and unexpected.


And when you discover your home is, essentially, poisonous, your first thought it to call the police. They arrive and immediately force you out of your home. The property is then condemned by the state. All your earthly possessions are still in the home, but you won’t be allowed back inside to grab even your coat or your wallet. For probably the first time in your life, you and your family are homeless.


When people are in these tragic situations, they usually feel somewhat assured when they think, “We’ll be okay. We have homeowners insurance and they cover these problems.” After all, you’ve been paying premiums for year after year. You thought your insurance company would stand by you in your moment of need. You’ve seen their commercials where the insurance agent arrives at the scene of a fire and wraps a blanket around a frightened woman’s shoulders. They’re there for you, right? You could not be more wrong.


Remember that these are the same insurance companies who looked out for themselves after Hurricane Katrina. Insurance companies across America find it very convenient to turn a blind eye when it comes to methamphetamine claims. They hide behind ambiguities in their policy language. In case after case, insurance companies tell claimants, “Sorry, you policy doesn’t cover that particular loss.” After all the assurances they’ve given you that they will stand by you in your moment of need, at this one particular moment, when your home and every single thing you own has been taken from you, they tell give you a too-bad, so-sad sigh and walk away with their pockets stuffed with your money.


The next step for you is to decontaminate your home, but the cost is enormous. First, you must hire an industrial hygienist to write what is known as a “clean-up protocol.” This will cost between $2,000 and $5,000. Then you must hire a certified-remediation company whom you are likely to pay between $30,000 and $60,000. In addition to those charges, all the contents inside the home need to be decontaminated. A car, for example, will cost approximately $6,000 to clean.


Sadly, clothing and furniture cannot be cleaned and must be thrown away. Anything porous in the home, such as carpet and draperies must also be thrown away. A remediation company must come into your home, tear down all the walls to the wooden studs, and reconstruct almost every interior part of your home.


You thought your insurance company would stand by you when you were in your moment of need. You thought that when your life was turned upside-down and everything you’d work so hard for was headed for the local landfill, that certainly you would be covered for your losses. And you thought wrong.


At a time like this, you need a team in your corner that has the trial experience with these particular cases. We make sure your insurance company stands by their promises. The Frankl Law Firm has a reputation for holding insurance company’s feet to the fire. And when the smoke settles, Colorado law allows you to sue the insurance company for letting you swing in the breeze. Under an area of law known as “bad faith,” when an insurance company unreasonably denies or delays payment of a claim, we can sue on your behalf. Additionally, the Colorado General Assembly has changed the law to allow you to sue your insurance company for additional damages. For the first time, you find someone standing by your side; it’s not your insurance company though, it’s us.


We are one of the only law firms in Colorado to have battled it out with these nationally-known insurance companies and to have collected damages for our clients, either through trial or through settlement. We have a winning track-record, where most firms would shy away from such thorny conflicts. In short, we are often the last line of defense.


The Frankl Law Firm works with teams of experienced industrial hygienists and hazardous material clean-up crews. Our goal is to have your home completely decontaminated by the best in the industry. If and when your insurance company denies your claim, Attorneys Keith Frankl and Brett Buchheit are ready to take them to task.


Attorney Frankl has been practicing law in local, state, and federal courts for the past twenty years. He is a published author and lecturer to other lawyers and professionals. He has fought on behalf of his clients when their insurance company denied their methamphetamine claims and he has the trial experience to represent people who have been harmed by these terrible events.


Attorney Brett Buchheit received his LL.M. from Tulane University School of Law where he studied environmental law. After Hurricane Katrina, he moved to New Orleans and worked for an insurance defense firm. His experiences have given him intimate knowledge of toxic torts and contamination cases. He is an internationally-published author, writing extensively on environmental issues.


The reason this issue is so prescient at this point in time is because insurance companies have knowledge of the dangers of this drug and its horrific physical and financial impacts, yet they continue to collect premiums while knowing that methamphetamine contamination claims are exponentially increasing. People purchase insurance because it provides them with assurance. And people are finding out that those promises are completely hollow. The Frankl Law Firm has the dedication and experience to protect these people and to get them back on their feet. We’ve done it for many other Colorado residents, and if the time comes, they’re ready to help more people in their fight against these companies who got rich by making promises that they never intended to keep.


Brett A. Buchheit, Esq. 

 The Frankl Law Firm, P.C.

2179 South Ash St., Denver, CO 80222


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