In the early months of 2016, it was announced that Terminix would pay “$10 million because of the allegations that they illegally sprayed a toxic pesticide which nearly killed a Delaware family who were vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands.” 1 However, the company would go on to pay a whopping $87 million to the Delaware family they had poisoned after a “tentative settlement agreement” 2was reached relating to their civil claims. (The company paid $10 million in fines and restitution for using the banned chemical methyl bromide.)

Not long after checking into their rooms at the resort, Stephen Esmond, wife Theresa, and their teenage sons fell ill and had to be moved to a Philadelphia hospital to recover from severe respiratory trauma. The boys were placed into medically induced comas for weeks and six months later, the teens were still struggling to eat, walk and sit up on their own. Their father continued to suffer from extreme tremors, struggled to speak and couldn’t turn the pages of a book, as well.

The family’s unit was just above a unit that was being fumigated with an illegal toxic pesticide, a pesticide Terminix knew was illegal. In fact, it was so virulent that dangerous amounts were still being detected inside the rental villa six weeks later.

But thankfully, just last week Jose Rivera was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act:

“The indictment alleges Rivera knowingly applied banned fumigants at the Sirenusa resort in St. John in October 2014 and March 2015. Prosecutors said Rivera also applied restricted-use pesticide in eight residential units in St. Croix and one unit in St. Thomas between April 2013 and February 2015.”3
The boys and their father have lasting neurological damage and life has been difficult. Hopefully with this indictment and having won their settlement, the family can move on with their lives.

Sources and References

  1. NHH, March 30, 2016.
  2. NBC News, July 28, 2016.
  3. CNN, April 14, 2018.