Veteran alleges agents concealed home defects before purchase

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jul. 16, 2009, 7:57am

GALVESTON � An Iraq War veteran and his wife claim they were sold a defective home a year ago and are suing the property's former owners, two real estate companies, and a broker in Galveston County District Court.

Chris and Stacie Andersen's deceptive trade lawsuit accuses Michael and Sheila Grand, Prudential Relocation Inc., Prudential Gary Greene Realtors and agent Barbara Kelly of committing fraud and conspiracy over the sale of 128 Lake Point Drive in League City on April 30, 2008.

"By representing that the home was in good condition and by concealing the home's myriad defects from the plaintiffs, the defendants knowingly or recklessly made false representations of material fact for the purpose of inducing the plaintiffs to purchase the home," the original petition filed July 7 states.

Court papers say the couple and their four young children moved to Houston from Maryland after Chris Andersen finished a tour of duty in Iraq.

Shortly afterwards, the family found the home in League City and expressed interest in purchasing it.

"Because they were so far away from Texas, in making the decision to buy the home, the Andersens relied heavily on the defendants' representations regarding the condition of the home and any necessary repairs that were made in the past or needed to make in the near future," the suit says, adding that the defendants provided documentation stating the house was in good condition.

Court papers show that the home purchase agreement included a provision outlining a six-day leaseback period.

Under this provision, the Grands would live at the residence until May 6 and have it professionally cleaned before their departure.

The plaintiffs argue the Grands did not uphold their end of the agreement.

"The Grands failed to have the home cleaned; indeed, they left it in deplorable condition," the suit says.

According to the Andersens, they noticed a number of undisclosed defects upon their occupation of the residence.

"The air condition stopped functioning, the water heater failed, and the Andersens found that the natural gas components of the home were leaking," the suit says.

They claim the defendants neglected to inform them about the defects, including a profusely leaking shower that reportedly caused severe damage to the master bedroom and bathroom subfloor.

"In attempting to stop the leaking and repair the damage, it became apparent that this was a pre-existing condition, and the damage was more extensive than first thought," the suit says.

It further explains that the water damage caused the home's port cache to collapse, rendering the master bathroom uninhabitable and unusable.

Repairs to the damage totaled more than $25,000, the plaintiffs say.

The suit ultimately accuses the defendants of "working together to actively conceal the home's defects to ensure the Andersens would not uncover the nature or extent of the damage until after purchasing the home."

Consequently, the Andersens seek damages for mental anguish and miscellaneous costs in addition to a jury trial.

Houston attorneys R. Kyle Hawes and Matthew Z. Hawthorne are representing the plaintiffs.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner.

Case No. 09CV1144

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