Local firm files suit against Grady JDA

A tenant of Heritage Industrial Complex has filed suit in Grady Superior Court against the Joint Development Authority alleging damages caused by a leaking roof. The suit was filed by L&L Business Associates one day prior to the November authority meeting, and authority officials were not served with the suit until the following day.
“We were served after the authority meeting. The suit claims a list of damages that are not well detailed. I think it was a surprise to everyone,” JDA Executive Director Tom Berry said this week.
Berry had been out of the office since the last meeting and when the suit was served. On Monday, he sent the suit to JDA Attorney Thomas L. Lehman for evaluation.
Lehman told The Messenger this week he did not know much about the suit other than it had been filed. He stated he would begin preparing an answer to file in court.
At the Nov. 16 JDA meeting, Berry presented a claim for damages from L&L Business Associates. According to Berry, the company claimed that some lumber had been damaged and had to be redried. Rather than paying the full $1,858 monthly lease, the company deducted the damages and paid the remainder. The company was claiming $1,371 in damages.
Berry had obtained a bid on the necessary roof repairs and presented it to the authority on Nov. 16.
The cost was estimated at $40,362, and the authority instructed Berry and JDA member Chuck Thomas to meet with L&L officials to determine if an agreement on the alleged damages could be reached and, if so, to solicit additional bids to repair the roof.
However, the suit filed in Grady Superior Court on Nov. 15, one day before the authority’s November meeting, is claiming $25,000 in damages.
L&L , through its attorney Bruce Warren of Thomasville, alleges that the company has suffered damages since January 2008.
According to the suit, the company entered into a lease with the JDA in November, 2007, and “shortly after entering into the premises, there was a storm with heavy rain which caused the building to leak.”
The suit further states, “the leak ruined thirty indoor door units.” According to L&L, they contacted JDA officials and were told at the time the January 2008 rent would be waived to compensate for the damages.
The local firm alleges in the suit that the building subsequently flooded in April, 2008; December, 2008; March, 2009; June, 2009, and in January, 2010.
According to the suit, in each instance L&L notified JDA officials and, according to L&L, the JDA waived the monthly rent.
Then in early 2010, the suit states, the JDA took action to collect back rent and “threatened” eviction.
L&L made payments to catch up on the lease payments, but Lehman says nothing was mentioned about waiving rent in lieu of damages.
The suit does not detail the alleged $25,000 in damages, but the plaintiff is seeking a judgment, jury trial on all issues, and all other relief the court deems proper.
“I think if the company had communicated it had damages to us the authority would have tried to work things out. It will be up to the lawyers to work it out now,” Berry said.

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