New home owners sue contractor over 'lackadaisical work habits'

Kelly Holleran Aug. 9, 2010, 6:48am

Two Port Arthur residents say a contractor failed to properly construct their homes by leaving out fireplaces and failing to complete plumbing, causing them economic damages.

Patricia Rose and Kenneth Guce filed a lawsuit July 29 in Jefferson County District Court against JLE Investors and Blake Roberts.

Rose and Guce claim they financed their newly constructed homes through JLE Investors for $220,000 and $238,000 respectively.

Soon, Rose and Guce grew weary of D&R Construction, the company they hired to build their homes at 3330 Roya Court and 3320 Roya Court in Port Arthur, which failed to construct in a good, workmanlike fashion, according to the complaint.

At the advice of a JLE employee, Rose and Guce severed ties with D&R and hired contractor Blake Roberts to complete construction, the suit states.

"The Plaintiffs were told that Gonzalo (the JLE employee) had worked satisfactorily with Blake on numerous other homes and preferred Blake to other contractors," the complaint says. "Gonzolo Arjona made representations that the houses could be completed within the original amount committed by JLE."

However, Gonzalo did not inform Rose and Guce that he used Roberts as an inspector of D&R's work at the Roya Court homes and refused to tell the plaintiffs of their overfunded positions, they claim.

Rose and Guse remained dissatisfied with Roberts' work on their homes and say JLE misled them when representing the quality of construction that would be performed by Roberts.

"Blake stated at the time he was hired that he would complete both homes within two months," the suit states. "Blake's lackadaisical work habits prevented that. Blake told the plaintiffs that he could only work when Gonzolo told him to work. Unfortunately, the skill of the contractor did not improve from that of D&R Construction."

For example, numerous items listed on Guce's blueprints have been omitted during construction -- the home is not wired for cable television, glass shower doors are missing or broken, plumbing is incomplete, two fireplaces found on the blueprints are missing in the home and exterior doors have no stoops, according to the complaint.

In addition, a lack of windstorm certification has caused Guce to be unable to obtain windstorm insurance; a bedroom floor retains water when it rains; and sheetrock shows mold, the complaint says.

"Plaintiff Rose's home is not complete and is open to the elements," the suit states. "There are no exterior doors, no electricity, no plumbing and no landscaping."

Rose and Guce allege fraud, breach of contract and breach of warranties against the defendants.

They seek economic and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees, pre- and post-judgment interest at the highest legal rate and other relief the court deems just.

Charles Gordon Reed of Beaumont will be representing them.

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

Jefferson County District Court case number: D187-429.

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