Snake Infested Maryland House Lawsuit Postponed

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Snake Infested Maryland House Lawsuit Postponed

Judge has not recused himself but may do so.

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The ongoing saga involving the “snake infested” house in Maryland was postponed last week as the judge who was to hear the case, Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul Harris, Jr. postponed it because he represented, many years ago, Barbara Van Horn, the real estate agent who sold Jeff and Jody Brooks their house. He also disclosed that his godson is married to an attorney for the Brookses.

He said that if someone wants him to recuse himself, he will. The attorney for the real estate agent said that the godson is a “particularly close, meaningful relationship."


Snake Infested House Background Information

Jeff and Jody Brooks purchased a house for $410,000 in Annapolis, Maryland last December and have since found more than 12 black rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) living in the house.  The couple then filed a $2 million lawsuit against the real estate agent, Barbara Van Horn, who filed a lawsuit of her own in hopes of having the case against her dismissed.

The Brookses say they spent $60,000 in extermination costs in an attempt to rid the house of the snakes, apparently to no avail.  

The family hired an attorney who filed a $2 million lawsuit which the attorney says covers the price of the house, pest control, and other expenses and $1 million in punitive damages. The lawsuit says that the seller didn’t provide certain pest inspection documentation to the buyers and also didn’t inform the buyers of the issue with the snakes in the home.

John Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata