Galveston insurer sues remediation company over damaged bank records

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 4, 2010, 6:54am

GALVESTON - United Fire Lloyds claims NBD International Inc. deceitfully modified its storage rate for maintaining storm-damaged bank papers and deliberately delayed remediation and restoration, recent court documents say.

In a lawsuit filed July 29 in Galveston County District Court, the Galveston County-based insurance company explains that it agreed to pay the defendant $140 per day in exchange for the upkeep and repair of Moody National Bank's documents.

NBD, however, charged 13 cents per linear foot per day and stalled on its efforts to complete the work within a three- to six-month time frame, United Fire argues.

The papers, collectively measuring in thousands of linear feet, were damaged on Sept. 13, 2008, when Hurricane Ike's floodwaters inundated the bank warehouse.

NBD and United Fire then met to discuss removing the documents and restoring them to their pre-Ike state.

The defendant agreed that all modifications of the agreement required written consent of both parties.

United Fire says NBD's alleged manipulation of work costs resulted in improper storage charges of at least $330,000.

The plaintiff adds the defendant continued to submit invoices throughout the first half of 2009 though the latter exhibited lack of sufficient progress and caused substantial delays without providing an explanation.

United Fire paid NBD amounts totaling the $1.32 million agreed to under the contract, but the defendant continued to delay its performance, the original petition insists.

Both parties met again in January.

NBD surmised the project would be complete in September and estimated that an additional $800,000 will be required, the suit says.

The plaintiff ultimately believes the price adjustment and the slow pace "were merely a pretext for NBD to fraudulently generate unnecessary charges."

"United Fire suffered injuries due to NBD's failure to fulfill its promises," the suit says.

Attorneys Bill Griffey and David A. Talbot, III of Houston are representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss is presiding over the case.

Case No. 10-cv-2116

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