Class-action lawsuit in the works accuses LGI Homes of ‘building shoddy homes’ – KIRO 7 News Seattle
KING COUNTY, Washington. – A new class action lawsuit is in progress accusing the contractor LGI Homes of being poorly built and violating consumer protection law.
Casey Law, who represented homeowners, hired an inspector who discovered major problems in parts of the building after a storm damaged dozen of homes in Enumclaw in February. The affected houses are in the Suntop Farms district.
“It’s very frustrating. Brand new house, a half-million-dollar house, ”said a homeowner who refused to be identified. He said he is weighing his options and considering joining the lawsuit.
Many of the dozen damaged homes are under warranty. But two months later, the roofs are still covered in plastic, the siding is still missing, and the homeowners say the LGI is refusing to step up.
“They were still calling for the ‘act of God’,” said homeowner Dave Baldwin, who is considering joining the lawsuit.
Casey Law’s Architectural Inspector determined that if properly installed, the shingles and siding of the houses would withstand winds of at least 116 miles per hour. The highest wind speed recorded on the night of the storm was just over 50 miles per hour.
“If it happened in a house or two, it’s a bad day. But it happened in 24 houses. This is more than a bad day. This is clearly a no-brainer, ”said Chris Casey, an attorney who specializes in construction defects law.
The law firm said Inspector William Martin had so far checked about 10 houses in the neighborhood and found improper installation in each house. A full report for one of the properties reads, “The siding and roof were improperly installed, causing it to fail in conditions well below those required by the current building codes for Enumclaw, Washington.”
Casey Law said in some cases the nails used were too small that the siding blew off during the “vanilla storm”. In other cases, not enough nails were used. Sometimes the nails weren’t in the tunnels. The inspector also found cases where the clapboards were not properly sealed.
The inspector said when parts of the houses were demolished it also tore holes in the weatherproof layer underneath. This means that in the case of roofs, the roof and siding must be completely removed and then reinstalled. The repairs are estimated to cost an estimated $ 140,000 to $ 160,000 per home.
The damage also resulted in snow in some homes, as well as leaks and water damage.
“We have a brand new baby who was born two weeks ago. My wife, my mother, my teenage daughter is here. It is very heartbreaking to know that my family is not in a safe house – just very frustrating, ”said one homeowner.
According to Casey Law, 40 people have registered for the class action so far. The lawsuit alleges that LGI Homes violated consumer law by promising high quality homes and then failing to deliver.
Lawyers suspect that all 288 houses in the area were improperly built.
“If that’s true for every house, then every house is eligible (to join the lawsuit),” said Wesley Higbee, who works with Casey Law. Higbee said they would ask an inspector to look at the homes at no cost to the homeowners to see if they are eligible.
Lawyers say the home purchase agreements also deprived homeowners of the right to take LGI Homes to court. However, the Consumer Protection Act still offers a way to take legal action.
“These contracts … essentially leave it to these homeowners to take care of it themselves. We had to figure out how to get around these contracts, ”said Casey.
While the litigation is just beginning, families with money tied up in their new homes have nowhere else to go.
“I am worried about my family’s health with the water damage. I pray there is no mold. I am very concerned, ”said one homeowner.
Casey Law announced that LGI Homes was informed of the lawsuit on Friday and is ready to be officially filed after 21 days.
KIRO7 reached out to LGI Homes for comment both in February and for this story but received no response.