A malfunctioning sprinkler system that flooded much of the Garden District Hotel in January is the subject of a lawsuit the hotel filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

New Orleans attorneys Alfred Olinde Jr., Kirk Reasonover and Wesley Barr filed the petition on Dec. 13 on behalf of Hospitality Enterprises Inc. and the Garden District Hotel on St. Charles Avenue LLC.

The lawsuit names Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance, D.E. Investments Inc, Servpro of North Kenner, Harahan and Lakeview and the Sewage and Water Board of New Orleans as defendants.

The suit claims that, in the process of filing its claim and dealing with adjusters, the plaintiffs dealt with Westchester adjusters that "falsely implied coverage issues where none existed." The plaintiffs allege that Westchester has claimed it needs more documentation "for the sole purpose of avoiding and delaying payment."

Westchester tendered a sum of just over $100,000 in September, which the plaintiffs claim was "grossly inadequate." The hotel is claiming damages under breach of contract.

The hotel also is suing Servpro, the company contracted to clean up the damage, claiming Servpro was negligent in its cleanup process, failing to "dry all areas of damage," "remove wet carpet and drywall" and other charges.

The Sewerage and Water Board is being charged with negligence, with the plaintiffs claiming the board "failed to monitor and control the water pressure to the insured premises, causing the sprinkler system to fail."

This case has been assigned to Judge Kern Reese.

Orleans Parish Case 2010-12413

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