Lawsuit: Roto-Rooter's improper diagnosis of sewer line issues led homeowners to incur $6,400 of expenses

By Nicholas Malfitano | Feb 14, 2018


PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh homeowners who believe that Roto-Rooter improperly diagnosed problems with their sewer lines and incurred more than $6,400 worth of costs for repair work to that effect are seeking restitution in state court.

Brian Larman and Elisabeth Larman of Pittsburgh filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Feb. 7 versus Roto-Rooter Services Company (doing business as “Roto-Rooter Plumbing And Water Clean Up”), of Murrysville.

The suit states the Larmans contacted Roto-Rooter after finding a blockage in their sewer lines on Aug. 11, 2017. One of the defendant’s technicians placed a camera into the sewer trap, cleared the small blockage and as a result, the sewer drained normally and the issue was resolved.

However, the Larmans allege the service technician wrote up a recommendation for emergency service and repair, claiming the plaintiffs had a number of other problems with their sewer lines. These included broken, cracked or corroded pipes and leaking joints. The technician recommended correcting the “problems” by digging an open trench (excavate, remove and replace the problematic section with new pipe and clean it out). and backfilling it above grade to allow for settling, the suit says.

After submitting an excavation proposal, the defendant proceeded to dig up the basement to remove the trap, destroying it in the process, to fix the issues described by the original service technician – “problems” the plaintiffs repeatedly contend did not exist.

Further consultations with RBS Management, LLC, A-1 Sewer Cleaning and the Allegheny County Health Department allegedly showed that “any work performed by defendant other than the removal of the initial blockage by way of a video camera was unnecessary, unwarranted and misrepresented to the Larmans” and “there was no reason for the trap to be removed,” the suit says.

As a result, the Larmans say they unnecessarily incurred more than $6,400 in out-of-pocket expenses, including: One-half of the estimated charges paid to defendant via the plaintiffs’ credit card for $2,920; installation of a new trap for $2,200; the cost of refilling the hole and repairing the concrete floor in the sum of $1,140; a permit from Allegheny County for $100; a sewer line examination charge from A-1 Sewer for $299.99 and the cost of certified mail to the defendant to cancel the contract for $26.50.

“The sums due the Larmans are approximately $6,411 of actual out-of-pocket damages, after giving credit to defendant to the $275 scoping fee that removed the original blockage,” the suit says.

For counts of breach of contract and violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law the plaintiffs are seeking total damages of at least $6,411 and not less than $35,000.

The plaintiffs are represented by James J. Lestitian of Lestitian Law, in Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-18-001876

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

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