South Philly woman's real estate suit over alleged faulty sewer system is settled

By Nicholas Malfitano | Apr 5, 2019

PHILADELPHIA – The case of a South Philadelphia woman who claimed her residence’s former owner failed to disclose problems with the sewage system before selling it to her has been settled.

“The court having been advised that the within case has been settled, the case shall be so marked on the docket and removed from the applicable list and inventory of pending cases,” according to a Jan. 8 order from Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Lisette Shirdan-Harris.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, per Court records.

Katherine Heisler of Philadelphia initially filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on July 17, 2017 versus Sunny Realty, LLC of Bala Cynwyd and ValueGuard USA, Inc.

On Aug. 23, 2016, the plaintiff purchased a property on South 21st Street from the seller for $195,000. Prior to the sale, the defendants represented they were not aware of any defects to the sewage system in the subject premises, the plaintiff claimed.

During an inspection conducted prior to the sale on July 18, 2016, the defendant allegedly did not inspect the sewage system. But after the sale, the plaintiff says she became aware of the sewage system’s non-functioning condition and no visible sewage vent because it had recently been covered in concrete.

As a result of the faulty sewer line, the plaintiff says the property’s basement flooded multiple times over the course of several months. This caused the plaintiff to be unable to use the basement as a workspace, plus $10,000 worth of damage to various items, including a mattress box spring, Mayline light table, sectional sofa, family heirloom dresser and a piece of art by Andy Warhol, the suit says.

This further led to the plaintiff being unable to use certain water sources simultaneously, and to stop using appliances or water sources completely during periods of flooding, the suit says.

In order to repair the sewer line and restore the basement, the plaintiff allegedly had to incur the following expenses: Initial clearing of the main sewer line - $75.00; Removal of concrete and video inspection - $1,950.00; Installation of new sewer pipe - $5,400.00 and Basement restoration - $3,201.18.

During the July 18, 2016 inspection, the plaintiff alleges the defendant/home inspector made an inspection and found water damage and rot to the right support post of the porch.

One month later, on Aug. 18, 2016, the defendant/home inspector conducted a follow-up inspection and claimed the right support post had been repaired, the suit claims. After the follow-up inspection, the plaintiff discovered the repair post had not been fixed, and was still water-damaged and rotted. The repair costs of the right support post will be in excess of $5,000, the claim says.

For counts of misrepresentation, violation of the Real Estate Seller’s Disclosure Act, violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent misrepresentation and punitive damages and prior to settlement, the plaintiff was seeking damages in an amount in excess of $25,626.18, plus interest and attorney’s fees in this matter.

The plaintiff was represented by Kelsey M. Catania and Michael F. Gillin of Michael F.X. Gillin & Associates, in Media.

The defendant was represented by Jon Henry William Taylor in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170701425

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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