Chelsea Partington Oct. 9, 2014, 6:42pm


NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans couple is suing a construction company, its owner, and its insurer for alleged breach of contract with Louisiana’s Road Home Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

Sebastian and Robin Marie Weston filed suit against Tim Clark Construction LLC, Tim Clark and their insurer in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Aug. 13.

The Westons claim that on Dec. 10, 2013, they contracted Tim Clark Construction to elevate their property located at 7521 Mackenzie Street in New Orleans. The contract reportedly stated that the project's cost amounted to $117,106.10, which would be paid in installments. The Westons allegedly provided a promissory note representing $30,000 of the total, to be paid in monthly installments of $143.22 to Clark.

The contract was dependent upon the Westons securing financing, which they accomplished through Louisiana's Road Home Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, says the suit. The plaintiffs say that they have signed documents authorizing the grant program to pay $69,640.24 to Clark. The Westons would go on to sign another promissory note with installments of the same amount beginning March 1, 2014 and going through Feb. 1, 2044.

The petition states that the project was supposed to conclude by Jan. 31, 2014. The Westons assert that Clark failed to meet this deadline, and that Clark's performance under the contract was late, unacceptable, and deficient. The plaintiffs allege that Clark's work actually caused major damage to their home.

In order to resolve these issues, the Westons allegedly requested the services of the grant program's closeout specialist, Eric Boehning, and Clark's closeout specialist, Joe Ravannack. The specialists allegedly agreed that the Westons would obtain an independent engineer report outlining the deficiencies in Clark's work so that the parties could reach a compromise.

Gurtler Bros. Consultant Inc. provided the engineer report, says the suit. Gurtler allegedly sent their report to Boehning and Ravannack in May. The petition states that Boehning communicated his receipt of the report, but Ravannack did not. The Westons claim that they attempted to contact Clark's representatives without results.

According to the Gurtler engineer report, the steel beams installed by Clark to support the concrete slab were not installed properly to the support angles that were bolted to the foundation. The report went on to describe numerous shortcomings in Clark’s work, says the suit.

On May 27, a letter was allegedly sent on behalf of the petitioners reiterating their request for a meeting to resolve the issues. The Westons claim that Clark has consistently ignored the engineer report, and has refused to meet with the petitioners and grant program personnel to discuss the details of its breach of contract, repairing the property and the cost of repairs and damages.

The plaintiffs say that Clark's representatives have appeared unannounced at their home, falsely identified themselves as state inspectors and later admitted that they were Clark representatives.

The defendant is accused of bad faith, breach of contract and negligence.

The plaintiffs are seeking an unknown amount in damages for payment and reimbursement by Clark for all work that has to be done to correct the deficiencies, money paid on the promissory note, their home's interior and structural damage, reimbursement for their installments paid on a debt where the defendant creditor has not properly performed under the contract, extra costs on their utility bills and mental pain and anguish.

Sebastian and Robin Marie Weston are represented by attorney Belhia V. Martin.

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

Case no. 2014-07935.

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