Coastline Homes sues Ground Force over non-compliant homes

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Aug 29, 2012

GALVESTON - Coastline Homes LLC alleges Ground Force Construction LLC, Ground Force Management Inc. and Ground Force Holdings LP sold and delivered modular homes that failed to comply with city, state and federal building codes, recent court documents say.

A lawsuit filed Aug. 23 in Galveston County District Court claims the Ground Force entities lied about their familiarity with the aforementioned codes applicable to all residential properties built on the Texas Gulf Coast and Galveston post-Hurricane Ike, stating the defendants' structures did not qualify for WPI8 certification.

Ground Force's relationship with the plaintiff began in late March 2009 when Barefoot Construction LLC executed a builder application and general terms and conditions of sale agreement calling for the manufacturing of seven modular homes that were to be brought to and erected in Galveston.

One of the homes would be used as the model home while the other six would be marketed and sold by Barefoot, which also was to receive express warranties. Barefoot, which is neither a complainant or respondent in the suit, assigned the entirety of its interest in its agreement with Ground Force to Coastline in May 2009.

The original petition explains that the defendants assured Coastline that they were well aware of government codes and promised verbally and in writing the homes would be constructed in accordance to said codes.

Ground Force also guaranteed that the homes would adhere to the Texas Department of Insurance Windstorm Building Code and be built to withstand winds of 140 mph or more as well as hired an engineering firm to prepare "the necessary calculations and engineering required to achieve all federal, Texas and local building codes," the suit says.

Coastline asserts it attempted to obtain the requisite WPI8 certification to receive a certificate of occupancy from the city of Galveston after the delivery of the first three homes to no avail, adding the edifices "woefully failed to comply with many requisite building codes and indeed did not come close to achieving a WPI8 rating including the 130-mph wind gust requirements."

Ground Force was notified about the apparent failure, but reportedly did not address any of the deficiencies.

According to the suit, Barefoot did the additional work to bring the newly constructed modular homes up to code requirements at its own cost to obtain the occupancy certificate.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Christopher D. Bertini with The Bertini Law Firm in Galveston is representing Coastline, Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss is presiding over the case.

Case No. 12-cv-1849

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