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Victim of Bee Attack Sues Retirement Home, Pest Firm

October 26, 2000

LAKE FOREST — A 77-year-old deaf woman who was stung by hundreds of bees while walking in the garden of her Lake Forest senior citizens home filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the home and a company that was hired to remove bees from the property.

Jackie Wright was hospitalized for nine days after the Oct. 1 bee attack at Freedom Village on El Toro Road. She was stung more than 400 times, mostly in the face, neck and upper body, attorney Bruce Broillet said.

"Her body underwent a tremendous shock as a result of being injected with a tremendous amount of poison," Broillet said. "This was enough to kill some people."

The domestic honeybees attacked Wright after escaping from a trap owned by Laguna Beach-based Bee Busters.

Broillet charged that company workers had been "negligent in the way they had secured [the trap] to the tree, and they were also negligent in not properly servicing it to keep the number of bees under control."

David Marder, owner of Bee Busters, said the trap was installed more than two years ago. Freedom Village was supposed to notify the company when the trap became full of bees, Marder said.

"I feel bad that this happened to Mrs. Wright," Marder said. "I pride myself on being responsible and I plan on doing the responsible thing."

Marder said the traps are the best way to catch and remove bees.

"I'll do my absolute best to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said.

Freedom Village administrators declined to comment on the lawsuit. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensation.

Broillet said Wright is recovering under the care of her son in Washington, D.C.

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