A property developer from Enumclaw has been sued for allegedly violating consumer law.
Casey Law PLLC filed a class action lawsuit against LGI Homes, developer of the Suntop Farms community east of Enumclaw, in the King County Superior Court on May 25. According to the lawsuit, Casey Law represents 58 plaintiffs, although a more recent lawsuit could name more than 65 clients, and likely more to come, said attorney Wesley Higbee.
“We doubt this is an isolated incident,” Higbee said in an email. “This is a sample from internet research and our communication of projects in the USA.”
The lawsuit stems from a winter storm that struck Enumclaw on February 13 and tore down numerous houses in the Suntop Farm neighborhood from roofs and siding.
But several local residents told the Courier-Herald that the storm – which only reached up to 50 mph, according to a local weather station – should do so much damage to their brand new homes.
Many tried to claim the damage through their one-year house guarantee, but their claims were denied on the grounds of “force majeure”; others, seeing their neighbors’ frustration with LGI, went their own way to pay for the repairs. It was at this point that homeowners began to believe that their homes were not built for the snuff.
One such resident was Annie Nahon, one of the numerous clients named in the lawsuit. After her claim was denied by LGI, Nahon hired a contractor to investigate the damage to her home; She said the contractor “was shocked and appalled that my tiles weren’t nailed properly … and they weren’t glued,” said Nahon. “She said, ‘Your whole roof needs to be replaced … I guess that’s how they did all of the other roofs. Every single roof in this whole neighborhood needs to be replaced. ‘”
Two other customers, Troy Runner and Seth Pohlman, also told the Courier-Herald that they believed their shingles was not properly nailed down.
To back up his claims against LGI Homes, Casey Law hired Will Martin of Seattle-based Robson Forensic Inc. to visit the neighborhood, take some measurements on the damaged homes, and examine the roofs and siding of potential customers. Martin allegedly discovered improperly nailed shingles and siding nailed into the drywall instead of bolts, which eased the damage to these homes from the winter storm.
“An analysis of the construction, carried out by independent construction experts hired by various insurers, identifies the cause of the siding damage / or product installation requirements and / or the construction plans,” the lawsuit reads. “The analysis of the construction … the identification of the cause of the roof damage is one of several of the failures of the LGI defendants to ensure that the roofing materials are securely attached in accordance with the applicable building regulations and / or the installation requirements of the manufacturer and / or the construction plans. ”
The lawsuit estimates the cost of repairs to be around $ 150,000 per home.
“The plaintiff’s experts state that the construction defect problems identified herein are latent; they could not be observed by adequate examinations at the time the houses were bought, ”the documents continue.
All in all, Casey Law claims that LGI has violated its contract with homeowners, the habitability guarantee and – perhaps most importantly – the consumer protection act.
“The poor construction of the houses by LGI and misrepresentations in terms of quality and services have harmed the plaintiffs” and “is the direct cause of the damage to the homeowner,” says the lawsuit. “Plaintiffs are entitled to reimburse the full repair costs and any consequential losses arising out of or in connection with the defendant’s violation of the Consumer Protection Act, including legal fees and triple damage.”
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