Elton's Construction's appeal dismissed in case over Rita repairs

David Yates Dec. 21, 2011, 7:36am

Justices on the Texas Ninth Court of Appeals recently dismissed the appeal of a Texas construction company accused of failing to properly repair a hurricane-ravaged home.

Lawrence and Jennifer McClendon filed suit against Elton's Construction and its owner, Elton Senegal, on Nov. 3, 2008, in Jefferson County District Court.

The McClendon's claimed the construction company violated building codes when it made repairs to the couple's property following Hurricane Rita.

Appellate judges in Beaumont dismissed Senegal's appeal for want of jurisdiction on Dec. 15.

Court records show that Senegal filed his appeal on Sept. 7, asserting that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to dismiss.

On appeal, Senegal argued the McClendons' claims must be dismissed because they failed to invoke the dispute resolution process of the former Texas Residential Construction Commission before filing suit, court papers say.

However, Ninth Court justices issued a memorandum opinion on Dec. 15, dismissing Senegal's appeal for want of jurisdiction.

"The trial court did not issue an order for an interlocutory appeal," writes Justice Charles Kreger. "Moreover, section 51.014 (of the Texas Civil Code) does not give the appellate court discretion to permit an interlocutory appeal in the absence of compliance with the statute.

"Accordingly, the appeal must be dismissed for want of jurisdiction."

The suit states that the parties entered into an agreement in April 2007 to remodel and repair the couple's Beaumont home for $90,000.

Several months after Elton's Construction began to work on the property, on Aug. 20, 2007, Beaumont inspector Frank McDaniel completed a code compliance inspection and found multiple problems, according to the complaint.

The McClendons claim the electrical and plumbing systems in the house were not in accordance with standards and windows were improperly installed and sealed from the outside, allowing rodents and pests into the home. McDaniel issued a non-compliance letter the day of his inspection, according to the complaint.

Because of Senegal's work, the McClendons claim their electrical, plumbing and windows needed to be removed and replaced, the house will have to be rewired and the windows will have to be reinstalled and resealed.

The McClendons are seeking a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of the court, prejudgment and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs, mental anguish damages within the jurisdictional limits, and other relief the court deems just.

Mitch Templeton, a Beaumont attorney, represents them.

Beaumont attorney Kent Johns represents Senegal.

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

Trial case No. D182-653
Appeals case No. 09-11-00497-CV

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