Beaumont couple claims shoddy repairs after Rita, sues construction company

Kelly Holleran Nov. 10, 2008, 6:10am

A Beaumont couple has filed suit against a Texas construction company, claiming the company violated building codes when making repairs to the couple's property following a hurricane.

Lawrence and Jennifer McClendon entered into an agreement in April 2007 with Elton's Construction, which is owned by Elton Senegal, for the company to remodel and repair their Beaumont home, according to the complaint filed Nov. 3 in Jefferson County District Court.

The home, located at 4775 Folsom Road in Beaumont, had suffered damage after Hurricane Rita in September 2005, the suit states.

The McClendons claim they agreed to pay Elton's Construction $90,000 for the repairs.

In the contract, "it was agreed between the parties that the repairs would 'be completed in a good and workmanlike manner according to industry standards' by Defendants," the suit states.

But several months after Elton's Construction began to work on the property, on Aug. 20, 2007, Beaumont inspector Frank McDaniel completed a code compliance inspection and found multiple problems, according to the complaint.

The electrical and plumbing systems in the house were not in accordance with standards and windows were improperly installed and sealed from the outside, allowing rodents and pests into the home, the McClendons claim.

McDaniel issued a non-compliance letter the day of his inspection, according to the complaint.

Both the McClendons and Senegal were informed of the problems, the suit states.

Instead of contacting McDaniel about the problems, though, Senegal made multiple threats to the McClendons for more money, claiming they had "defrauded" him, the couple alleges.

Senegal went to the U.S. Small Business Administration one week after the notification and falsely said that he had completed the work on the McClendon's house, according to the complaint.

In addition, he filed a Mechanic's and Materialmen's Lien Contract on the property for the work that had been declared defective by the inspector, the suit states.

Because of Senegal's work, the McClendons claim their electrical, plumbing and windows will all have to be removed and replaced, the house will have to be rewired and the windows will have to be reinstalled and resealed.

McDaniel informed the couple they will have to spend $125,881.88 to correctly repair the home, according to the complaint.

In addition, they could not lease the property to a prospective tenant because of its condition and "are owed $26,400 for lost rental income," the suit states.

The McClendons claim they have suffered great physical and mental pain and anguish and great anxiety, nervousness, nausea and an inability to sleep "upon knowing that their home would never be properly livable until the required repairs were made."

The McClendons claim they have performed everything required of them in the contract except for paying Senegal for the defective plumbing, electrical system and windows.

"The failure to perform the work pursuant to applicable city and state codes to pull the proper permitting and to have the work inspected by the proper city personnel constitutes negligence, breach of contract, and breaches of express and implied warranties as a matter of law," the suit states.

The McClendons claim Senegal made numerous negligent misrepresentations to them, suggesting he was a trained construction professional who could properly repair their home.

The statements were negligent because they were made in the course of business transactions, were false information, Senegal did not exercise reasonable care when relaying the information and the McClendons suffered losses, according to the complaint.

The McClendons are seeking a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of the court, prejudgment and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs, mental anguish damages within the jurisdictional limits, and other relief the court deems just.

They are represented by Mitch Templeton of Chambers, Templeton, Cashola and Thomas in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Case No. D182-653

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