Woman sues contractors over shoddy hurricane repairs

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 13, 2010, 12:00pm

GALVESTON - A Galveston woman is suing two contractors over deserted remodeling projects on three storm-damaged residences.

Loretta Marinelli's lawsuit against Raymond Medred and Tommy Smith, who are doing business as T & E Construction, claims the defendants filed mechanic's liens despite being terminated for performing poor work and misrepresenting themselves.

The suit was filed Mar. 25 in Galveston County District Court.
Marinelli sustained severe damage to her homestead and two rental homes when Hurricane Ike made landfall on Galveston Island on Sept. 13, 2008.

The plaintiff and her son planned to repair one of the rental properties first to serve as her temporary home while she dealt with the insurance companies. The Marinellis could then repair the final two houses.

The plaintiff initially hired someone to work on the rental property, but later replaced them with the defendants in May 2009, the original petition says.

According to the complaint, T & E boasted an "expert crew" that would complete the project in a month for approximately $50,000.

The Marinellis and Randall Fuchs, a family friend, subsequently entered into an agreement with the defendants. Under the contract, Fuchs was to oversee all receipts, labor, materials while T & E were to begin work immediately as well as provide access to the invoices.

The suit argues that the defendants failed to turn over any receipts and overcharged for the materials. It also asserts the repairs were sloppy and behind schedule.

"T & E's incompetence and slipshod work cost Mrs. Marinelli tens of thousands in wasted time and duplicated materials costs," the original petition says.

Marinelli complains that a lot of her insurance money was gone by the Ike one-year anniversary.

The suit ultimately states the T & E crew were not experienced construction workers, but a group of homeless men from Oregon. It insists the business also used random day laborers, which caused the plaintiff to fire T & E.

The defendants applied for mechanic's liens in response, the suit says.

"The defendants made, presented, or used a document or other record with intent to cause another person to suffer financial injury, or mental anguish, or emotional distress," it states.

Fuchs is also a plaintiff in the case.

Marinelli and Fuchs are represented by Houston attorney David N. Harvey, and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Case No. 10-cv-0846

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