Shop owner says roof leaked despite code certification

Kelly Holleran Jan. 27, 2010, 8:15am

The owner of a Jefferson County flower shop that was damaged by heavy rains has filed a lawsuit against the inspector that certified the new roof only a month before.

Julie Avant, doing business as Garrison Flowers, claims she hired a roofer in January 2008 to place a new roof on her business at 3049 Proctor St. in Port Arthur.

According to the complaint filed Jan. 21 in Jefferson County District Court, Avant hired defendant Theodore B. Harp Jr. to certify the roof as being in accordance with the International Residential Code 2003 upon the roof's completion.

Harp issued a final certification, but should not have done so as the roof failed after a heavy rainstorm on Feb. 16, 2008, which caused interior damage, the suit states.

Because of the damages, Avant was forced to hire a second roofing contractor to build a new roof at the same business premises, the complaint says.

"Plaintiffs would show that it was Defendant's responsibility to inspect during construction to ensure the roof was properly installed before he certified it," the suit states. "Sections of the old roof were not removed by the roofing contractor, there were pieces of loose plywood left under the roof and there were areas where the roof decking needed to be replaced that had not occurred. All of these items should have been pointed out by Defendant to the roofing contractor as part of his inspections and before he made the final certification."

Avant is seeking treble and discretionary damages, attorney's fees, costs and other relief to which she may be entitled.

Brandon P. Monk of The Monk Law Firm in Port Arthur will be representing her.

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

Jefferson County District Court case number: D185-772.

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