Vidor residents sue seismic testing company for home damage

David Yates Dec. 5, 2007, 9:29am

'Thumper Truck' used for seismic testing

A group of Orange County residents are claiming seismic testing left their homes in shambles.

Clifford and Rhonda Miller, along with Warren Wylie and Curtis Richard, have filed suit against Century Exploration of Houston, Inc. and Seismic Specialist, Inc.

The plaintiffs' suit was filed with the Orange County District Court on Nov. 20.

According to the plaintiffs' petition, Clifford and Rhonda Miller own a house at 115 Briarcliff Vidor. Wylie and Richard each live on the same block. "In late November 2005, defendants began seismic testing on Briarcliff with 'thumper trucks' sending strong sound waves into the earth to detect mineral reserves.

Century retained Urban Specialists to monitor the testing. Testing took place on Briarcliff just several yards from the homes, the suit said. "As a result of the loud sound waves, pictures were shaken off the walls and their homes damaged."

"Plaintiffs discovered their houses sustained serious losses and damages after the seismic testing," the suit said.

"The Millers' reported their claim to defendants who investigated and concluded that the admittedly obvious cosmetic and structural damage to their 40-year-old home was more likely due to natural settlement rather than the 'thumper trucks.'"

The current damages to Vidor residents' homes include losses to the homes' exterior, interior, foundation and various structural repairs.

"Plaintiffs, therefore, assert that the defendants were negligent, created a nuisance and trespassed," the suit said. "Defendants were liable for the damage resulting from their failure to adequately hire, train and supervise the implementation and testing at issue."

The plaintiffs are suing for actual, consequential and exemplary damages, plus mental anguish.

They are demanding a trial by jury and they are represented by attorney David Wenholz of The Wenholz Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to the 128th Judicial District.

Case No. A-070652-C

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