LOS ANGELES, CA — Ed McMahon is suing his home insurance company for $20 million, claiming it botched a simple repair on a broken pipe and, as a result, allowed a toxic mold to spread throughout his Los Angeles home, making his family sick and killing his dog.

In a lawsuit filed April 8 in Los Angeles Superior Court, McMahon, who for years served as the sidekick for Johnny Carson on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” said he, his wife Pamela, and household staff members have been battling illnesses as a result of exposure to mold. He also said the family dog, Muffin, died as a result of a mold-induced infection.

It names Scottsdale, AZ-based American Equity Insurance Co., a unit of Citigroup Inc., as a plaintiff, as well as several Southern California contractors who had been hired to clean up the mold.

According to the suit, a pipe burst last July in McMahon’s estate in the posh Coldwater Canyon section of Los Angeles, causing his den to be flooded. McMahon made a claim under his policy with American Equity, which arranged to clean up the damage caused by the flooding.

“What started out as a simple plumbing leak ended up a horrific nightmare only Steven King could write about,” McMahon’s lawyer, Allan Browne, told Reuters.

He added the mold spread through the house with a high concentration in the main bedroom.

Publication date: 04/22/2002