PITTSBURGH – Murrysville plaintiffs are looking to recover more than $435,000 in damages from a contractor who they say accepted funds to work on a complete addition to their property, neglected to do so and then absconded with the funds.

Mark Michalek and Jennifer Michalek of Murrysville filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 9 versus Shawn Steele (doing business as “Eleets Construction”), of Pittsburgh.

On or about Sept. 6, 2017, the defendant provided the plaintiff with an independent contractor agreement for the construction of a complete addition to the property. Prior to the time that defendant provided plaintiff with the agreement, the suit explains the plaintiffs had already paid the defendant $65,000.00.

As stated in the agreement, the total price of the property addition is $90,000, but to date, the plaintiffs have paid the defendant a total of $145,000.00 – including an extra $55,000 above the total price, the suit says.

According to the lawsuit, the defendant poured footers, put up some cinder block and removed the roof and brick from the existing home, but has now stopped work and left the home uninhabitable.

Additionally, the plaintiffs say the agreement was not signed by either party and failed to contain large amounts of information, including: The approximate completion date of the addition; An itemized description of the materials to be used in the construction; An enforceable time and materials provision; Amounts of down payments and amounts paid for the cost of special order materials; The names, addresses and telephone numbers of all subcontractors; The toll-free telephone number for the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Office of Attorney General and notice of the owners’ right of rescission.

More than 45 days have elapsed since work was due to begin, and the plaintiffs say they requested a refund of their money through certified mail to the defendant and his attorney, but the mail was returned as undeliverable and the plaintiffs believe the defendant left the area with their money.

For counts of breach of contract, violation of the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act and Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and negligence, the plaintiff is seeking damages of $145,000, plus costs of suit, attorney’s fees, interest and treble damages in the amount of $435,000, in addition to a trial by jury.

The plaintiff is represented by Matthew L. Kurzweg of Kurzweg Law Offices, in Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-18-000298

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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