Chelsea Partington Sep. 29, 2014, 7:00am


NEW ORLEANS – A pair of New Orleans homeowners are suing Davie Shoring, Inc., certain persons employed by the corporation and the company's insurer for damages following Davie Shoring's alleged failure to properly level their property's foundation.

Joan C. Kalnit and Gary J. Kessel filed suit against Davie Shoring Inc., Ian Wallace, Frances Linares, Rob Johnson, Vernon Harvey, Warren Pat Davie Jr. and their insurer in the Orleans Civil District Court on July 15.

Kalnit and Kessel claim that on March 25, 2009 they contracted Davie Shoring Inc. to restore their residence at 11 Bonita Bay Drive in New Orleans to a horizontal position. The plaintiffs assert they paid $85,680 for this service.

Davie Shoring, Inc. allegedly assigned Wallace, Linares, Johnson, Harvey and Davie as direct supervisors over the project and each had the authority to make decisions as the job moved through a variety of leveling and maintenance stages.

Kalnit and Kessel claim that they made the final payment for the work on May 14, 2009 after being told that their home was level by Davie Shoring Inc. and the project's supervisors. That same day, Linares allegedly issued the plaintiffs a "PermaLock Lifetime Foundation Warranty" on behalf of Davie Shoring, Inc. certifying that they used the PermaLock system of foundation repair.

The warranty purportedly states that "if any adjustments are required during the life of this home due to settling, our company or another designated PermaLock contractor will re-raise all areas previously underpinned without cost to the owner."

Kalnit and Kessel claim that within 30 days of the warranty's issue, they noticed that their residence and foundation was sinking. The plaintiffs state that cracks were forming in the walls and the doors and windows were difficult to close and open because the residence was not level.

The petitioners claim that they notified Wallace and Johnson of their home's condition on multiple occasions, and that despite subsequent repairs and alleged soil surveys, the foundation continued to sink causing considerable damage to the walls, doors, ceilings, windows, and foundation.

Davie Shoring Inc. and the assigned supervisors for the project allegedly continued their efforts to level the residence until February, at which point Warren Davie stopped authorizing repairs for the plaintiffs' home, says the suit.

Kalnit and Kessel claim that subsequent soil borings and test piles showed that the defendants failed to use pilings 78 feet or longer to keep the residence and foundation level.

The plaintiffs assert that as a result of the defendants' breaches of contract and express warranty, their home's slab is sagging in the center and at various corners, the floors are separating and pulling away from the baseboards, the floors are sloping, doors are not fitting into their jambs, horizontal and vertical cracks have appeared in the sheetrock walls and nearly every corner of the home as well as cracks in the brick veneer exterior, and virtually every wall and door on all floors of the house are damaged.

The defendants are accused of breach of contract, breach of implied warranty of fitness, breach of express warranty, failure to conduct proper soil samples, failure to drive test pilings in order to determine the proper length of pilings to keep the residence level, and failure to drive pilings of sufficient length to bring and maintain the residence and foundation at 11 Bonita Drive to a horizontal level.

The plaintiffs seek an unknown amount in damages for past, present, and future repairs to the residence and foundation, loss of property value, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of the property.

Kalnit and Kessel are represented by attorney Raymond C. Burkart Jr.

The case has been assigned to District J Judge Paula A. Brown.

Case no. 2014-06909.

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