Angela Wright didn’t think much about the tiny bumps on her chest and arm when she first noticed them.
She got a prescription from her doctor, treated them, and forgot them.
Two days later she started hallucinating. She had to be rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment.
“I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t move and I could barely swallow,” Wright told WSMV.
“They said I was forming bubbles in my lungs, which could have caused pneumonia, and they said if I would have waited a few more hours or maybe until the next morning if I would have made it, I would have had a stroke.”
It turned out she wasn’t bitten by some harmless insect like a bedbug. Wright was bitten by brown recluse spiders, venomous arachnids native to the South and central United States according to MedlinePlus.
By nature shy and retiring, brown recluse spiders will bite if threatened—and that threat might be no more than reaching into the back of a drawer or the bottom of a closet.
Bite symptoms—restlessness, fever, chills, nausea, sweating, weakness, and joint pain, according to an OSHA handout—can take up to 36 hours to develop, and can become “very severe.” Kidney failure and seizures are a possibility, MedlinePlus reports. Patients can even fall into a coma.
Also, the venom can kill tissue around the bite area. The bite can develop into a blister, which looks harmless enough, but under the skin, the venom is killing flesh. Eventually the blister opens, revealing a deep internal lesion or ulcer.
Wright was lucky. She didn’t suffer the worst symptoms, and was soon able to return to her apartment.
Unsafe Living Conditions?
Wright told the management at the Views of Brentwood apartment complex what happened, and they sent an exterminator to spray her apartment. After the exterminater left, Wright found about 50 spider corpses scattered throughout her apartment.
“We were finding brown recluses left and right, in our bed, in the ceiling, in the iron, in her shoe,” Wright told WSMV.
Wright decided she needed to find a safer place to live—which is when the next round of trouble started.
The complex told Wright that she had was liable for a 60-day notice—she had to pay two months’ rent to break the lease, whether the apartment was infested with dangerous spiders or not.
Wright’s claim is that the apartment is uninhabitable, and she has no obligation to continue to pay. No one could live there, so she doesn’t have to pay to live there—or leave.
“This isn’t my problem. I came here thinking this was a nice place to live,” Wright said.
A local lawyer said Wright might be able to break the lease without paying the two months—but she would have to give the landlords two weeks to correct the situation before she could claim that the space was uninhabitable.
“If he fails to correct the infestation, if she’s given him 14 days notification and he still hasn’t done anything, then she needs to file an action in general sessions court,” said lawyer John Augusta of EastSide Legal told WSMV.
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