Louisiana Record

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Contractor accused of insurance fraud in Hurricane Isaac home repair

By Kyle Barnett | Mar 8, 2014

Breach of contract

GRETNA – A homeowner who claims he was induced by his property insurer to hire a preferred contractor who allegedly committed insurance fraud 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 suffered roof damage. Flood waters 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 he opportunities to have another contractor fully repair it the damages. 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’ alleged 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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