$2.3 million suit filed against County of Mathews, contractor

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Feb 22, 2012 - 03:31 PM

Mathews residents Wade and Susan Brooks, owners of Garden Creek Woodworks and Artistic Design Studio, have filed a lawsuit against the County of Mathews and HHM LLC, a Kentucky limited liability company. They are asking for total damages against the county of at least $2.3 million.

In court documents filed last May but not served until November at the Brookses’ request, the couple charges that the county and co-defendant HHM LLC engaged in "willful, wanton and reckless conduct" before entering into a contract and during the work performed under the terms of that contract. In separate pleadings, the county and HHM deny the charges.

HHM LLC was contracted in 2009 to elevate the Brooks home after it was flooded during Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and Tropical Storm Ernesto in 2006. The Brookses’ home was one of several in the county that were elevated under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The grants were secured through the county, and Bay Aging was appointed to oversee the work.

The Brookses claim that the work conducted by HHM left their home "structurally unsound and uninhabitable." They are charging the county and HHM with breach of contract, saying the two entities did not obtain all necessary permits, inventory and inspect the site before and after construction, provide a warranty of work, remove and replace brick, prepare and reinforce the foundation to support the house at its new elevation, augment steps and porches to restore accessibility, insulate pipes, restore landscaping and clean the site, or replace or reinforce flooring or other structural members. In separate pleadings, the county and HHM deny these charges.