Man sues furniture company for alleged theft of $145K antique hutch

Catherine Melancon Nov. 16, 2012, 4:49am

J. David Andress

BATON ROUGE – An Orleans Parish man is suing a Slaughter, La. furniture restoration company after it allegedly breached a contract for not repairing an antique piece of furniture it has possessed for six years.

John M. Ehlers filed suit against Mark E. Mulkey, Shamilla Mulkey and Furniture Medic by Mark's Woodworking, LLC in the 19th Judicial Court on Oct. 31. The defendants allegedly ran an advertisement in The Times Picayune, under the name "furniture medic," providing services for furniture restoration.

Ehlers claims he contacted Mulkey to restore his 450-year-old antique hutch that was a gift to his great-great-great grandmother in 1823. Ehlers estimates the value of the hutch is $145,000.

The defendants allegedly agreed to repair and restore the hutch for $3,000 on Jan. 23, 2006. The plaintiff asserts over the past six and a half years the defendants have maintained possession and control of the Ehlers' hutch and have failed to repair and restore the hutch or return the hutch and refund Ehlers' funds.

Ehlers claims he visited the defendants' workshop in 2008 and 2009 and observed no progress on the piece of furniture. On Aug. 20, 2009, Ehlers sent a certified letter through his lawyer to the defendants requesting a status update of the restoration and a date certain for the completion. The plaintiff claims in February 2012, the defendants stopped answering his phone calls and halted all communication. On Sept. 6 Ehlers claims he sent another letter to the defendants demanding the return of the hutch and a refund of the $3,000 within 14 days.

The plaintiff claims the defendants ignored the request.

The defendants are accused of property theft, breach of verbal contract, depriving the plaintiff the use of his property, misleading Ehlers to believe work was being performed on the hutch, misleading Ehlers as to the status of the work, misleading Ehlers of their qualification and fraud and negligence.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for anxiety, emotional distress, mental anguish loss and causing the plaintiff to fear the loss and/or destruction of a treasured family heirloom.

The plaintiff is represented by J. David Andress of Baton Rouge-based Andress Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to Division O Judge Wilson Fields.

Case no. 616664.

More News