Why are James and Tricia Keene suing the wrong company?

The SE Texas Record Jun. 11, 2013, 9:24am

James and Tricia Keene’s case against EasyLift Cargo Lifts of Galveston is thin, inasmuch as the injury to James’s arm last November seems to have resulted from “operator error.” 

It may have occurred while the frugal husband was using it as a discount elevator rather than as a cargo lift that the company installed in the Keene beach house at Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula.

The Keenes’ case against Brint Construction of Beaumont is less than thin. It’s ridiculous.

“They sued us, but we didn’t make it, install it, or guarantee it,” company owner Tim Byrom said about the Keenes and their cargo-lift claim.

Brint Construction did build the Keenes’ beach house and do the electrical work associated with the installation of the cargo lift, but neither Byrom nor anyone else at his family-owned company recommended the lift or the company that installed it.

Byrom says the Keenes inquired about installing an elevator in their beach house in 2011, at an estimated cost of roughly $20,000. Months later, his company was contacted by EasyLift Cargo Lifts about doing the electrical work for the installation of a far-less-expensive cargo lift.

“They contacted EasyLift on their own,” Byrom says of the Keenes. “We didn’t refer them and weren’t involved in their decision. The only work we did was installing the electrical system for the lift.”

Nevertheless, when the Keenes initially filed suit in Jefferson County District Court this past May – seeking $1 million in damages -- they filed against Brint Construction, not EasyLift. They later amended the complaint to include EasyLift.

Byrom has a theory as to why the Keenes filed suit against the wrong company.

“Their lawyers want this in Beaumont,” he speculated. “It should be filed in Galveston County, because that is where EasyLift is located and they are the ones responsible for installing the lift.”

Ah yes, Beaumont. Of course! The place where injustice is served.

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