State of Louisiana, Department of Education sued for over $250K for alleged property damage

By Max Schramel | Apr 25, 2015

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NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana Department of Education is being sued for allegedly failing to maintain property stipulations under a lease agreement with SM3 Properties LLC.

SM3 Properties LLC filed suit against State of Louisiana, Department of Education and Recovery School District and Board of Education and Secondary Education in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Feb. 25.

On July 13, 2007, SM3 reached a lease agreement with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), Recovery School District (RSD), and the Board of Education and Secondary Education (BESE) for the property located at 2239 Poydras Street in New Orleans.

The plaintiff contends that specific amendments within the lease agreement were clearly violated by the defendants including respecting the property or leaving it, “in equal to or in better condition, normal wear and tear expected of office use.” Additionally, section 33 of the lease allegedly requires a set of keys be left for all parts of the property, “one (1) copy of all keys (labeled and tagged) to the building.”

Furthermore, at the expiration of the lease, the defendants must have the property in pristine condition, “professionally cleaned within 5 working days prior to surrendering possession.” In addition, section 23 of the lease allegedly stipulates that if any of the conditions are not upheld then the lessee is held liable for damage incurred.

On Aug. 31, 2013, the lease expired, prior to this date a representative of SM3 along with a LDOE maintenance contractor executed a walk-through inspection. The inspection allegedly revealed severe damage to the ceiling, windows, walls, floors, interior doors and exterior doors. Therefore, the property was purportedly surrendered in a substantially worse condition. and the plaintiff allegedly failed to receive a set of keys to the property as well.

SM3 is seeking $254,624.81 in property damages and repairs from the defendants, LDOE, RSD, and BESE along with additional costs and expenses sustained under the lease agreement.

The plaintiff is represented by attorney Nicole M. Smith.

The case has been assigned to Div. I Judge Piper D. Griffin.

Case no. 2015-01721.

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