Beetles boring floor boards leads Orange homeowner to sue interior company

David Yates Nov. 20, 2007, 7:54am

Southern Lyctus Beetle

Michele Whatley thought it peculiar her wood floors were laced with sawdust. When she began cleaning the mess, she discovered wood beetles boring into her floor.

Whatley contacted the makers of the floor for help but was told "that beetles could not be living in the wood." After an exterminator determined her home to be infested with Southern Lyctus Beetles, Whatley filed suit against Accent Carpet and Drapery Co. and Pinnacle Interior Elements.

Her suit was filed with the Orange County District Court on Nov. 7. The case has been assigned to the 163rd Judicial District.

According to the plaintiff's petition, Whatley's wood floors were manufactured by Pinnacle and sold to her by Accent Carpet. In 2007, she noticed sawdust on her floor. While cleaning up, the beetles made their presence known.

"It has since been determined that the wood floors in plaintiff's home are infested with Southern Lyctus Beetles (wood boring beetles)," the suit said. "The beetles are found in hard flooring and lumber that has been improperly stored and treated."

Whatley contacted both Pinnacle and Accent Carpet, and both companies informed her "they had never heard of wood beetles in the floors and that the beetles could not be living in the wood," the suit said.

In her suit, Whatley says the beetles have been inspected by Texas Cooperative Extension and Texas A&M University and have been determined to be Southern Lyctus Beetles.

The suit alleges the defendants are negligent for failing to properly test, examine, store and treat the wood before placing a defective product into the stream of commerce.

Whatley is suing for exemplary, punitive property and mental anguish damages.

She is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by attorney Hart Green of the Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell law firm.

Case No. B-070635-c

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