An Enumclaw home developer has been sued for allegedly violating the Consumer Protection Act.
Casey Law PLLC submitted the class action lawsuit against LGI Homes, developer of the Suntop Farms community east of Enumclaw, in the King County Superior Court on May 25. According to the lawsuit, Casey Law is representing 58 plaintiffs, although a more updated complaint could name more than 65 clients, with likely more to come, said lawyer Wesley Higbee.
“We doubt this is a one-off,” Higbee said in an email. “From internet research and our communications from projects across the U.S., this is a pattern.”
The lawsuit stems from a winter storm that hit Enumclaw Feb. 13, ripping off roofing and siding from numerous homes in the Suntop Farm neighborhood.
But several residents told the Courier-Herald that there was no way the storm — which only reached up to 50 mph, according to a local weather station — should have done so much damage to their brand-new homes.
Many attempted to claim the damage through their one-year home warranty, but their claims were denied, citing “acts of God”; others, seeing their neighbors’ frustration with LGI, went about their own way to pay for repairs. That’s when homeowners started to believe that their homes weren’t built up to snuff.
One such resident was Annie Nahon, who is one of the numerous clients named in the lawsuit. After having her claim denied by LGI, Nahon hired a contractor to look at the damage to her home; she said the contractor “was shocked and horrified that my tiles were not nailed in correctly… and they’re not glued down,” Nahon said. “She was like, ‘your whole roof is going to have to be replaced… I’m guessing this is how they did all the other roofs. Every single roof, in this entire neighborhood, needs to be redone.’”
Two other clients, Troy Runner and Seth Pohlman, also told the Courier-Herald they believed their shingles were not nailed down correctly.
To bolster its claims against LGI Homes, Casey Law hired Will Martin of the Seattle-based Robson Forensic Inc., to visit the neighborhood and take some measurements of the damaged homes and study the roofing and siding of potential clients; Martin allegedly discovered shingles that were nailed down incorrectly and siding that was nailed into the drywall, rather than studs, all of which made it easier for the winter storm damage these homes.
“Analysis of the construction, performed by independent construction experts retained by various insurers, identify the cause of the siding damage is one or more of the LGI Defendants’ failure to ensure the siding is firmly secured into underlying building studs in compliance with building codes and/or product installation requirements and/or the building plans,” the lawsuit reads. “Analysis of the construction… identify the cause of the roof damage is one of more of the LGI Defendants’ failure to ensure the roof materials are firmly secured in compliance with applicable buildings codes and/or manufacturer installation requirements and/or the building plans.”
The lawsuit estimates repair costs per home will cost approximately $150,000.
“Plaintiff’s experts determine the construction defect issues identified herein are latent; they could not be observed by reasonable investigation at the time of purchase of the homes,” documents continue.
All in all, Casey Law alleges LGI breached its contract with homeowners, breached the warranty of habitability, and — maybe most importantly — violated the Consumer Protection Act.
“LGI’s defective construction of the homes and false representations as to the quality and services injured the Plaintiffs” and “is the direct cause of the homeowners’ damages,” the lawsuit reads. “Plaintiffs are entitled to recover the full costs of repair and any consequential losses arising out of or related to Defendants’ violation of the Consumer Protection Act, including attorney fees and treble damages.”