More than half of 96K verdict awarded to attorney

David Yates Nov. 10, 2010, 10:00am


A Jefferson County jury recently found that a contractor failed to honor his agreement with local resident Fred Pouncy, awarding the man $41,270 in damages and his attorney, David W. Starnes, an additional $55,000.

As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, Pouncy filed a lawsuit against Jesse and Bonnie Blankenship of Blankenship Welding on Dec. 30, 2008, alleging the substandard building the company constructed prevented him from obtaining windstorm insurance.

The case went to trial on Oct. 25 and ended four days later, with jurors finding that the Blankenships committed fraud and deceptive trade practices and breached their contract with Pouncy.

Court papers show Pouncy hired Blankenship Welding on Oct. 4, 2006, to remove an existing carport and patio cover at his home, extend the concrete slab and construct a 30-by-40-by-10-foot steel building.

In his suit, Pouncy claimed he paid Blankenship Welding its final payment on Jan. 17, 2007, after the job was completed.

However, when Pouncy tried to get windstorm insurance on his building, an inspector informed him the building did not meet building codes.

According to testimony and court records, problems with the steel building include an insufficient pitch on the roof that does not allow for proper drainage and causes the roof to leak and a sliding metal door that is not wind rated.

Furthermore, Pouncy claimed the carport and patio covers were not installed correctly and also leak, causing damage to the inside and outside of Pouncy's home, and the concrete slab Blankenship Welding installed is structurally defective and does not slope correctly, which allows for standing water.

Insisting it did no wrong, Blankenship Welding refused to repair the building, carport, patio cover, slab and damage to the inside and outside of his house, court papers say.

Jurors disagreed, finding that if Blankenship Welding had been honest up front about the quality of services it would be providing, Pouncy would not have hired the company.

Blankenship Welding is represented by Spring attorney Marc Wojciechowski.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, presided over the trial.

Case No. A182-952

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