Kyle Barnett Mar. 21, 2014, 6:17pm

GRETNA – A homeowner who claims he was induced by his property insurer to hire a preferred contractor who allegedly committed insurance fraud during the repair of his home is suing.

John Valenza III filed suit against Shearwater General Contractors LLC, John David Matthews Sr., Joseph “Joey” Pizzini, Adam Anderson and ASI Lloyds in the 24th Judicial District Court on Feb. 13.

Valenza claims that in Hurricane Isaac on Aug. 29 his home at 61 OK Ave. in Harahan was ravaged and received roof damage and flood waters that destroyed its interior and contents. The plaintiff asserts that he immediately made an insurance claim with ASI who sent Matthews, an employee of preferred contractor Shearwater, to the property to assess the damage and submit the only repair estimate. Valenza alleges he did not know that under his insurance contract he would have to abide by the bid proposal provided by ASI’s preferred contractor, whether it was correct or not.

The plaintiff claims the defendants misrepresented the damage estimate and limited the opportunities for another contractor. Valenza asserts that he signed a contract in the amount of $76,671.60 with Shearwater to provide repairs to his home.

The plaintiff alleges that as the repairs began Mathews received $60,000 of the amount due to him, but very soon afterward began to not pay subcontractors and suppliers.

Valenza claims that due to Mathews’ breach of contract with others who provided labor and goods for the property he removed him from managing the repair work. In addition, the plaintiff asserts the Mathews performed poor repair work on the home.

The defendant is accused of breach of contract, misrepresentation and violation of state laws, including insurance fraud.

Damages in the amount of $35,000 plus expenses and attorney’s fees is sought by the plaintiff.

Valenza is represented by Pini Aaron Weinstein of the Gretna-based Weinstein Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to Division F Judge Michael P. Mentz.

Case no. 735-523.

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