A Jefferson County couple says their mortgage company refuses to release an insurance check needed for repairs to their home.

Dwayne and Connie Hickman are suing their home lender, CitiFinancial Mortgage, and filed their lawsuit with the Jefferson County District Court on May 25. Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

According to the Hickman's petition, Hurricane Rita destroyed portions of the couple's home. They submitted a claim with their insurance company and a check was made payable jointly to the homeowners and to the mortgage company, in accordance with the deed of trust provisions.

"After repeated attempts to have defendant endorse the draft and return it to the plaintiffs for the repairs to their residence, defendant�fails and refuses to endorse said draft and return it to plaintiffs," the plaintiffs' original petition states.

The Beaumont couple claim Citi's alleged actions are a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices � Consumer Protection Act. The Hickmans also fault the lender with breaching its contract.

They are suing for economic, actual and multiple damages, plus court costs.

"Plaintiffs would show that the false, misleading and deceptive acts�were knowingly�and intentionally committed by defendant," the suit said. "Therefore, plaintiffs are entitled to recover multiple damages."

The Hickmans are represented by Attorney Barrett Lindsay of the Lindsay & Morgan law firm.

Case No. D179-373

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