SE Texas Record

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Etoile couple says PU attorney should have ‘done homework’ before suing them

By David Yates | Sep 21, 2012

Last year, Cynthia and Larry Chandler sold their recreational vehicle. Several months later, the new owners of the RV were in a collision that ultimately claimed a man’s life and lead to a lawsuit against the Chandlers.

As previously reported, on July 6 Roberta Leyendecker, the widow of Barry Leyendecker, filed a wrongful death suit in Jefferson County District Court against the Chandlers, Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance and Gordon and Jerry Buchleiter, the two men who allegedly caused the collision.

Two months later, the Chandlers, who say they sold the vehicle last December, were forced to leave their sick daughter and drive down from Etoile, Texas, to attempt to clear up the matter.

“I’m scared to death,” Cynthia Chandler told the Southeast Texas Record. “We don’t own the RV, haven’t since last year. We don’t know what to do.”

A week before responding to the suit, the couple paid a visit to the office of Provost Umphrey attorney Paul Ferguson Jr., counsel for the plaintiff, and delivered documents clearly showing the Chandlers sold the vehicle before the incident, the Chandlers claim.

However, despite numerous phone calls, Ferguson has declined to speak with the couple or acknowledge the evidence left at his office, forcing them to file a hand-written, pro se answer on Sept. 19 at the Beaumont courthouse.

“The title plainly states that we don’t own the RV,” Cynthia said. “Shouldn’t these lawyers do their homework before suing us? He has proof we don’t own it. He’s just sitting on it.”

When asked why they might think Ferguson has refused to return their calls, Larry said he thought the attorney was on a “fishing expedition,” hoping they wouldn’t respond to the suit in order to obtain a default judgment.

The couple is hopeful the answer will persuade the plaintiff and her attorney to drop the suit against them, but expressed fear that they might lose their home if the litigation continues and they are forced to hire an attorney.

They are asking any interested parties who may be able to help them to contact them at

According to the lawsuit, on April 23 Gordon Buchleiter was towing the RV. Jerry Buchleiter was operating it. The men lost control of the combined unit, causing the vehicles to block both the north and south lanes of Highway 69.

Leyendecker crashed into the combined unit and died from his injures, the suit states.

The suit further contends that the Leyendeckers were covered by a Texas Farm policy and that their coverage was not adequate to compensate for the damages suffered.

Roberta Leyendecker is suing for actual and wrongful death damages.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. B192-655

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