A Seattle-based law firm is looking to help homeowners in Enumclaw’s Suntop Farm development file a lawsuit against developer LGI Homes.
The issue at hand is whether some of the homes were improperly constructed, leading to roof and siding damage when a snow storm blew through the Plateau on the night of Feb. 13.
Construction defects happen to be a specialty of Casey Law PLCC, the firm hoping to bring on clients from the Suntop neighborhood in the coming weeks before filing the suit.
According to lawyer Wesley Higbee, Casey Law is looking to represent an LGI Homes neighborhood in Mount Vernon for improper window installation, though that lawsuit has also yet to be filed in court.
REVISITING THE DAMAGE
There’s no denying that the storm that hit the greater Pacific Northwest area was fierce; the Seattle Times reported that SeaTac Airport got more than 12 inches of snow, and the AP reported hundreds of thousands of people from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho lost power.
But here on the Plateau, several Suntop Farms homeowners said there’s no way the storm would have caused as much damage to their homes if they were properly built; a local weather station said sustained wind speed during the storm never rose above 40 mph, and gusts only got to around 50 mph.
Annie Nahon, who had been living in her home for just about two months when the storm came, reported that shingles and siding were blown off her home, leading to melted snow soaking her attic insulation and water leaking into her top floor.
When Nahon called a contractor to look at the damage, 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.’”
Troy Runner, another homeowner, also had shingles fly off his roof, and the resulting water damage was like “someone dumped a kiddie pool of water” into his master closet. He added that he also believes his shingles were missing nails and adhesive to keep them attached to the roof.
Seth Pohlman — a third LGI customer that suffered roof damage — claimed LGI told him that his shingles would be attached to his roof by six nails, but the contractor he hired to survey the damage said whoever built his home only used four.
Although all three were clearly upset by the damage sustained to their brand-new homes, it appeared at least Nahon and Runner were even more upset by the fact they couldn’t get their one-year home warranty to kick in; they both said they were tuned away by the warranty holder, saying the damage wasn’t covered under “inclement weather” or “acts of God.”
This is in despite of the fact that the shingles and siding should have held up to far greater wind speeds, Casey Law claims.
At this point, Casey Law is still waiting on enough Suntop Farms homeowners to join their lawsuit before it’s filed in court.
Higbee and a construction expert, Will Martin of Seattle-based Robson Forensic Inc., visited the neighborhood on March 11 to take some measurements and meet with homeowners.
“It turns out that the house we inspected last week, the siding was nailed into the drywall — not into the studs — and that’s why the wind was able to take it off,” Higbee said in a March 9 interview.
During last week’s inspection, Martin said he’s seen shingles nailed down with an insufficient number of nails.
After enough homeowners partner with Casey Law, Higbee said the firm will send LGI Homes a letter of notice; the firm then has to wait about three weeks before filing the lawsuit.
Casey Law can be contacted at 206-605-0626 or firstname.lastname@example.org; for more information about the firm, head to www.casey-legal.com.
LGI Homes did not return a request for comment by print deadline.