Beaumont couples embroiled in litigation over home's insurance proceeds

Kelly Holleran Mar. 26, 2009, 9:34am

Two Beaumont couples are embroiled in litigation over allegations that one couple's illegal use of insurance proceeds from a hurricane claim resulted in the other couple's eviction.

Court papers say plaintiffs William D. and Nicole Schroeder entered into a contract for deed with Bob L. and Linda D. Arnold in which the Arnolds agreed to sell a property to the Schroeders for $37,700.

The Schroeders paid the Arnolds monthly payments of $289.73 per month, which was to include taxes and insurance on the property, according to the complaint filed March 18 in Jefferson County District Court.

In September 2005, the Schroeders' home was destroyed by Hurricane Rita and they were forced to vacate the property.

According to the suit, before the hurricane struck and for many months afterward, the Schroeders made all their payments on time to the Arnolds.

However, the plaintiffs allege the Arnolds kept a majority of the insurance money after the claim against the Schroeders' residence was approved.

"Defendants paid Plaintiffs only a token amount from the insurance recovery and told Plaintiffs that was all the coverage he had," the suit states. "Defendants received substantial insurance proceeds, put said proceeds in their pockets, refused to repair the property, and then evicted the Plaintiffs from their home."

As a result of the insufficient amount of money they received, the Schroeders could not repair their property. The city of Beaumont condemned the property and demolished it, the couple claims.

On May 24, the Arnolds cancelled the contract for deed through an e-mail stating the deed had "become null and void because of your lack of compliance," the suit states.

The Schroeders are seeking unspecified actual, consequential and punitive damages, plus attorney's fees and pre- and post-judgment interest.

They are represented by Thomas P. Roebuck Jr. of Roebuck, Thomas, Roebuck and Adams in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A183-564.

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