Cleaning crew took belongings, suit alleges

David Yates May 19, 2008, 7:56am

After his Port Arthur home was ravaged by fire, Andrew Bigler hired Service Master Clean to restore several household items. Bigler alleges the company's employees didn't just clean his belongings, but also cleaned him out.

In his suit, filed on May 15 in the Jefferson County District Court, Bigler says he has fruitlessly attempted to contact Service Master about the alleged theft of financial documents and family photos, leaving him no other option except litigation.

The suit does not state if Bigler reported the alleged theft to law enforcement authorities.

According to his petition, Bigler's house was destroyed by fire on Nov. 16, 2006. He contacted Service Master in Beaumont, which is owned by Raymond Smith, to service and clean various household items.

"Four boxes containing pictures spanning over 100 years of the Plaintiff's family were taken by Defendant along with some important financial documents," the suit says.

"The four boxes of pictures, and the important financial documents have not been returned. Plaintiff attempted to discuss this matter with individuals representing Defendant verbally, but his efforts have proven ineffectual. The Plaintiff attempted to contact Defendant by mail via the U.S. Postal Service, but Defendant has failed to respond."

Bigler's four-count suit accuses Service Master of Conversion, fraud, breach of contract and negligence.

"The defendant wrongfully exercised dominion and control over Plaintiff's personal property," the suit says. "The Defendant's acts � caused injury to Plaintiff by causing him to suffer the loss of use of his converted personal property."

Bigler is seeking unliquidated and actual damages, plus attorneys' fees.

He is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by Brent Coon & Associates attorney Ryan White.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D181-758

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