Former tenants sued by landlords for alleged property damage

By Kyle Barnett | Apr 23, 2013

GRETNA – A family that allegedly abandoned and damaged a home they were renting is being sued.

Ewald F. Groetsch Sr., Kevin P. Baker, Eleanor L. Baker, the estate of Derrick V. Baker, Clarence P. Baker Jr. and Karla M. Baker filed suit against Manuel Joseph Caronia, Brandon Ross, Jasmine Ross, Joshua Ross, Kayla Ross, Manuel Ross, Mathew Ross, Nyeisha Ross, Shakia Ross, the estate of Valerie Ross Caronia, VM Maintenance Inc. and their insurers in the 24th Judicial District Court on Feb. 20.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants rented three properties located at 200 and 202 Causeway Blvd. in Jefferson including a house, an apartment and a double garage between 2005 to early 2012. During that time the defendants’ are alleged to have caused multiple problems with the property and for the property owners.

In 2011, McKenzie Tree Service and and its worker John McKenzie  was allegedly bit by one of the defendants' dogs and later sued the property owners for his injuries.

Not long after that incident Valerie Ross, the wife of defendant Caronia, and mother to the other Ross children named as defendants, died in a car accident.

The defendants are alleged to have ceased paying their rent after Valerie’s death and subsequently abandoned the property in February 2012.

Upon finding the property abandoned, the assigned landlord, Kevin P. Baker, began to clean it out and found that it was left in disrepair and trash was strewn about the property. In addition, the plaintiffs claim water leaks were not reported to the landlord, including one in an apartment over the garage that required a large section of the floor to be replaced.

The defendants are accused of failing to maintain the leased property, failing to inform lessor of any defects present on the leased property, failing to keep leased property safe for visitors, breach of lease agreement, failing to provide adequate notice of intention to vacate leased property, failing to pay rent and destruction of leased property.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for loss of rental income, physical damage to leased property that rendered leased property uninhabitable, costs to remediate damages, loss of future resale income, damages caused to McKenzie by the defendants' dog and attorney’s fees.

The plaintiffs are represented by Karla M. Baker of the Metairie-based Baker Law Firm LLC.

The case has been assigned to Division J Judge Jo Ellen Grant.

Case no. 724-070.

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