Port Neches couple alleges agents misrepresented likelihood of home's flooding

By David Yates | Oct 27, 2008

A Port Neches couple has filed suit against the real estate agent and the companies that sold them their home, claiming they were unknowingly sold a flood-prone home.

Charles and Angela Luce filed their suit against American Real Estate, MSB Investments, Shelia Boyd and Michael Beaty on Oct. 22 in Jefferson County District Court.

The suit does not specifically state that the Luce's home flooding problems occurred during Hurricane Ike, but the suit was filed a month after the deadly storm caused flooding in many areas of Jefferson County. The suit did not give the Luce's address and the Record was not able to find a telephone listing for Charles or Angela Luce.

According to the suit, Beaty, a partner in MSB Investments, entered into a contract with the Luces for the sale of their Port Neches home on Jan. 9, 2006. The couple has gone through Boyd, a real estate agent for American Real Estate, to purchase the home.

In their suit, the Luces claim neither defendant parties disclosed that the home was prone to flooding or had previously flooded.

"In the disclosure notice, Michael W. Beaty fraudulently and/or negligently claimed that the following conditions were not present at the property: improper drainage, previous flooding into structure, previous flooding onto property, settling, soil movement, water penetration and wetlands on the property," the suit states.

The plaintiffs also alleged that Beaty fraudulently misrepresented that there were no foundation, slab or other structural problems.

The Luces state Boyd presented them with a copy of the disclosure notice, which they "relied on" in their connection with the purchase of the property.

"In connection with the sale of the property, Sheila Marie Boyd fraudulently and/or negligently misrepresented to plaintiffs that the property was in the 'best floodplain' and would 'never flood,' or words to that effect," the complaint states.

But the Luces claim that after they took possession of the property, they discovered that it was subject to flooding and that it had flooded prior to their purchase.

"At the time the misrepresentations attributed to Sheila Marie Boyd were made, Sheila Marie Boyd and American Real Estate each had a financial interest in the commission that would be earned if plaintiffs purchased the property," the lawsuit says.

In addition, the suit states that Beaty was participating in a transaction in which he had a financial interest.

The defendants' failure to disclose information concerning the property which, if known to plaintiffs, would have caused them not to purchase it, is a violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the suit alleges.

The couple is accusing the defendants of committing statutory fraud, DTPA violations, negligent misrepresentation and common law fraud.

They are suing for actual, economic, consequential and treble damages, plus all court costs.

The Luces are represented by attorney Tom Kiehnhoff of the Reaud, Morgan and Quinn law firm.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield of the 136th Judicial District.

Case No. D182-578

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