Holland Phillips Oct. 15, 2013, 6:56am

NEW ORLEANS— A woman is suing a contracting company that allegedly defrauded her out of $30,000 in repairs to her home.

Elaine Declouet filed suit against Patterson Structural Moving and Shoring LLC, Gulf Coast Lift LLC, Edward Magenheimer and Jeremy Patterson in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Aug. 13.

The plaintiff claims that Magenheimer approached her about elevating her home on Feb. 9, 2011. She signed a contractual agreement based on his assurances that she would incur no out-of-pocket expenses. The agreement stated that Patterson Shoring would elevate her home, disconnect and reconnect to local code electrical, gas, drain, and water supply, and install a handicapped ramp with rails up to her home’s entrance following ADA guidelines. Patterson allegedly agreed to be responsible for submitting the paperwork to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for the cost of the work totaling $99,302.00.

Declouet then allegedly received an invoice requesting payment on a $30,000 promissory note that she never knowingly signed. She remembers an instance when “Mr. Magenheimer obscured the contents of an unsigned document with another sheet of paper under the pretense of guiding Mrs. Declouet to the proper line to sign.” She claims he then refused to provide her with a copy of the signed document.

The defendant is accused of interrupting the gas flow to Declouet’s house, failing to properly restore the electrical system so that she could not run her air conditioning and installing the ramp at an unused entrance to the home. The plaintiff accuses the contractor of taking advantage “an unsophisticated homeowner in distress, by performing shoddy, defective and unworkmanlike construction to her home and, ultimately, by tricking her through subterfuge into signing a purported promissory note for $30,000 (an amount far surpassing her annual income), after the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program had already guaranteed full payment for his work.”

An undisclosed amount is sought for negligence, breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, and damages for additional repair costs to fix the incomplete work, past, present, and future ongoing damage to the structure of the home, worry, anxiety, mental anguish, inconvenience and all other damages. The plaintiff also asks that the promissory note be declared null and void.

The plaintiff is represented by Thear J. Lemoine of New Orleans-based Phelps Dunbar.

The case has been assigned to Division C Judge Sidney H. Cates IV.

Case no. 2013-07622.

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