Publisher’s Note. An earlier online version of this article contained incorrect information about a judge’s order. There was a misunderstanding about the case and a corrected version follows. We apologize for the mistake.
A U.S. District Court judge was asked to consider a motion by Fort Bragg’s housing provider Corvias to drop class action allegations from a lawsuit filed on behalf of Fort Bragg families.
In a proposed order, filed on Jan. 20, the defendants’ attorneys are calling for Judge James Dever III to dismiss the case on the basis of the Federal Code of Civil Procedure Classification Requirements 23 requiring plaintiffs to demonstrate that the defendants are defendants have refused to act on reasons “common to the class” so that the ultimate relief is “appropriate to respect the class as a whole”.
The military families are seeking class action lawsuits of more than $ 5 million.
More:Here’s the latest on the Fort Bragg class action lawsuit
The military families in the case the complaint was made include Staff Sgt. Shane Page and his wife, Brittany Page; Spc. Spenser Ganske and his wife Emily Ganske; Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Wilkies and wife Ashley Wilkies; and Cpl. Timothy Murphy and his wife Katelyn Murphy.
“Our battle over military families continues and our clients look forward to their day in court,” said Mona Lisa Wallace, of the Salisbury-based law firm Wallace and Graham, which is helping represent the families on the case. “We believe that military families are heroes, and there is no excuse for substandard housing provided by private, for-profit corporations.”
Defendants include Corvias Group LLC; Bragg Communities LLC; Corvias Management Army LLC; Bragg-Picerne Partners LLC; Corvias Military Living LLC; and Corvias Bau.
Her complaint, filed on behalf of the military families, alleges that the defendants “conspired to hide harmful environmental and structural imperfections from unsuspecting service members and their families and failed to comply with applicable building and housing codes.”
The complaint also alleged that the defendants “knowingly rented substandard homes” while charging “grossly inflated rents that devoured all of the basic living room wages.”
In a legal petition, lawyers for the defendants said that establishing individual claims would require the court to investigate the issues in each home to determine what maintenance issues were, what caused the issues, how long the issues were, and whether the issues were habitability of the house when repairs have fixed the problems and whether each class member has “suffered any damage”.
Corvias’ attorneys wrote that plaintiffs are making a number of claims “for various and varied maintenance issues” which, according to attorneys, cannot be answered without an individual inquiry about the “unique circumstance” of each of the residents. Houses when they lived there.
More:“We’re not there yet,” said the Army Secretary during the visit to Bragg that the focus on military housing improvements is still a priority
“Evidence that a plaintiff’s home had a specific maintenance problem does not prove that the same problem occurred with another plaintiff during the course of another plaintiff’s lease,” the lawyers wrote.
Lawyers said plaintiffs attempted to include in the class action lawsuit residents who lived in Fort Bragg’s 6,500 units for between three and four years.
“Their claims are not based on a single design or construction flaw common to the entire class,” the lawyers wrote, saying the claim encompassed various maintenance issues – from roof leaks caused by Hurricane Florence, heating and ventilation problems, and mold were “without commonality among the four plaintiffs” to an infestation of squirrels.
Lawyers said that while each of the plaintiffs alleged “mold problems” or “moisture intrusion” they cited different causes for the problem, with the Wilkieses blaming it as a result of delayed roof repairs after Hurricane Florence and the Ganskes which caused moisture damage claimed after heating and ventilation system leaking.
“Evidence that mold was present in a house during a plaintiff’s lease does nothing to answer whether mold was present in the next plaintiff’s house or even in the same house at a different time,” the lawyers wrote.
More:Fort Bragg families are bringing class action lawsuit against the Post’s housing provider
Lawyers said previous lawsuits have rejected allegations of mismanagement or poor maintenance practices by landlords as a common cause of class action lawsuit.
The lawyers denied allegations that plaintiffs “misleading” conduct allegedly advising or deleting maintenance records, and said plaintiffs were required to provide evidence of how they were “damaged” as a result of the allegations.
In response to allegations that sellers were instructed not to use the word “mold” around residents when repairing homes, attorneys said the allegation was an “inflammatory charge” that would oblige the court to “ Carry out cross-factual investigation “to determine whether each individual class member relied on the alleged statements” to his or her disadvantage.
In a motion dated October 30 to dismiss the case, the defendants’ lawyers wrote that the military families each alleged a series of complaints from individual landlord-tenants.
“Such claims require individual evidence,” said the lawyers. “This does not reduce the severity of their claims, but it does mean that they must pursue their claims on an individual basis rather than as a class action.”
Military family lawyers filed previous motions referring to Congressional hearings and reports from the Government Accountability Office about poor quality military housing.
“An appeal is also appropriate, as so far legislative remedies have only sought to prospectively reform privatized housing practices without making provision for service member compensation.”
The representative Rachael Riley can be reached at [email protected] or 910-486-3528.
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