Neighbors sue when wall falls onto property

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Oct. 29, 2009, 3:20am


GALVESTON - A San Antonio couple is seeking $100,000 after debris from a neighbor's building crashed onto their Galveston property.

Fred and Mary Mathis's lawsuit against Four Winds Investments Inc. argues that on Sept. 13, 2008, a cinder block wall on the west side of the defendant's property crumbled onto their building, which is adjacent to the east.

"This lawsuit arises out of the defendant's negligent, grossly negligent, and negligent per se conduct in failing to maintain a safe and habitable condition," the original petition says.

The case was filed Oct. 26 in Galveston County District Court.

The Mathises, who operate a trust, blame the wall's design and construction for the collapse.

"The wall collapsed onto the plaintiffs' building, causing severe damage to the property, including the structure and contents inside," the suit says.

It faults FWI for failing to establish and/or enforce effective quality control over agents, employees, and contractors; failing to see that the work performed by the builder or contractor is performed in a safe manner as well as breaching a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition.

FWI violated the International Building Code numerous times, the suit adds.

"The IBC is a model code that provides minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety, and general welfare of the occupants of new and existing buildings and structures in all communities," it says.

"The plaintiffs are members of the class protected by the provisions of the IBC and the injuries resulting in the injuries resulting from the collapse of the negligently constructed wall are the types of injuries the IBC was meant to prevent."

Consequently, the Mathises seeks actual and exemplary damages as well as a jury trial.

San Antonio attorneys Jason B. Speights and Todd Worrich are representing the plaintiffs, and Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV2001

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