Question about damages caused by Plumbing company in TX

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Arvinder Chopra

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Aug 2, 2022, 11:11:56 AMAug 2
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I recently bought an older house in Houston TX and contracted with a bonded plumbing company to do a PEX repipe on the house. It turned out that this company is a big marketing outfit out of California, and the work is done by local sub-contractors.

The crew that came to the house were working fine till lunch time, and then they left for lunch and did not return for over 3 hours. When they finally returned, it was already close to 3:30 PM, and it was clear a couple them were intoxicated. In a rush to finish the job, they started to cut the sheet rock in a haphazard manner. In some cases they cut the structural stud members (one of the studs was hanging loose), or they would drill holes in the studs to pass the pipes, and mis-calculate and abandon the holes and start drilling elsewhere.

I immediately reported these issues to the plumbing company along with detailed pictures, but they refused to help me initially saying that their people did not cause the damage, but ultimately they send a supervisor who said he can put a 40 cent patching plate wherever the studs were cut.

I have been requesting the plumbing company to give me the information for their surety bond company so I can 'tap' the bond, and attempt to get their insurance company to assess the damage to the structural members. But they won't give me this information, and instead their lawyer send me a demand letter asking for payment and attorney fees. I clarified to their lawyer that it is not my intention to withhold payment, but I need help in assessing and repairing the damage caused to my house. Their lawyer is insisting that I have stolen their client's services and materials. They also told me that my report of the damages was not in accordance with Texas Residential Construction Liability Act (“RCLA”). I was not aware of this statute, but have resent my report of damages to the attorney noting that the notice was per the RCLA.

Their attorney asked me to make the property available for inspection which I have agreed to.

My question is that
1. Is it advisable to continue to press this case, because looks like as per the RCLA the plumbing company will inspect the property and then provide an offer of settlement or propose remedy....but they have already inspected the property in the past..and the issues at hand are not related to plumbing but the damaged studs and joists. How would a plumber assess structural damage and why would they act against their own interest..It does not look like I can influence who does the inspection.
2. Am I on the hook for the other party's attorney fees? It is not my intention to not pay them..I just wanted to get my house fixed, but their attorney is threatening me that I am liable for their legal costs.

Any pointers for me to navigate this messy situation? Thanks in advance.

Andy C

Stuart O. Bronstein

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Aug 2, 2022, 1:16:39 PMAug 2
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The traditional way of dealing with this situations is for you to
have someone else finish the work, and then sue the original
contractor for any additional amount it costs you to have it
completed. Technically the bonding company isn't required to pay you
until you get a judgment. Hopefully the amount is small enough for
you to sue in small claims court, if you need to do that.

--
Stu
http://DownToEarthLawyer.com

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