Vegas Seniors Stand Up to DR Horton

As Mary Lou reached for her cleaning supplies in the bathroom, she noticed black spots on the wall. Mary Lou thought that she had rubbed the paint off the wall. As time went by and the black spots could not be cleaned from the wall, Mary Lou and her husband began to investigate. Unfortunately, the couple came to the conclusion that their townhouse by DR Horton had mold.

Mary Lou and Dennis contacted their builder by phone and were told to send in their complaint via the DR Horton web site. So, they did. A series of conversations took place between DR Horton and the senior couple, and the couple was eventually told DR Horton was not responsible for the repairs.

Mary Lou and Dennis had to turn off the plumbing for the entire house due to the leak in the bathroom. Because of this inconvenience the couple decided to pay for their own plumbing repairs and mold remediation.

When the sheetrock was removed, there was clear evidence that during the construction of the house, a staple had been driven through a plastic pipe causing the leak and the mold. The couple took a picture of this and filed a complaint with the Nevada State Contractors Board.

When the Contractors Board came to the seniors' house, they felt that the picture was evidence that DR Horton should have paid for the repairs. However, Mary Lou and Dennis were informed that the Contractors Board did not have the power to make the builder reimburse them for their repair expenses, but if the Board had been contacted prior to the repair, the builder would have been held accountable.

As a courtesy to the couple, the Board contacted DR Horton and asked them to reimburse the owners for the repairs. DR Horton refused to reimburse the owners. However, his feisty senior couple was not ready to make nice and decided to take their builder to Small Claims Court.

The case was referred to a referee. DR Horton's attorney spoke up right away and said the seniors had not abided by the law because they did not notify the builder by registered mail. Mary Lou and Dennis never got to tell their side of the story. The case was dismissed on this small technicality.

Mary Lou and Dennis were absolutely heart broken that DR Horton would tell them to send in the complaint via the website and then turn around and have the court case thrown out because they followed the directions given to them by their builder! They could not believe that the referee did not even listen to their side of the story.

Mary Lou and Dennis continued to stand their ground with both the court system and their builder. They contacted the Senior Citizens Law Project (702/229-6596). A paralegal from the Senior Citizens Law Project wrote a letter to the judge and an appeal was filed.

The second court date took place on September 26, 2006 and Judge Deborah J. Lippis was presiding. Judge Lippis did take the time to hear the couple's testimony and look at the picture. Judge Lippis ruled in favor of the senior couple and made DR Horton reimburse them for the repairs.

Mary Lou and Dennis would like to give a big thanks to the following people and organizations:

*The Senior Center (ph: 702/229-6596, fax:702/384-0314, TTY: 702/386-9108). The Senior Center asks for a voluntary donation if you use their services.

*The Nevada State Contractors Board. 702/486-1100. This is a free service for all Nevada homeowners.

*Judge Deborah J. Lippis

Cote vs. DR Horton

Case No. 05A001924

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