Granite City seeks dismissal of $1.15 million claim

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 4, 2006, 6:28am

Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron will hear Granite City's arguments to dismiss a case filed by a couple who claims their home was nearly demolished without being notified by the city.

The hearing is set for Friday, Jan. 13, at 9 a.m. in Courtroom 327.

Dennis and Patsy Hagopian of 2504 Sheridan Ave. in Granite City filed a 23-count $1.15 million complaint against Granite City, Jerry Wilson, John Apperson, Joe Perigan, Triple J Restorations Inc. and Mertzke Trucking and Excavating Company alleging their home was nearly demolished without being notified.

Represented by Patrick Foley of Belleville, the Hagopians claim personal property was damaged when the wrecking crew entered the premises. The suit, filed Feb. 22, 2005, in Madison County Circuit Court, asks for actual and punitive damages for allegations of negligence, conversion, trespassing, civil conspiracy and fraud.

The Hagopians claim that on May 24, 2004, Triple J Restorations and Mertzke Trucking and Excavating Company arrived at their home to tear it down.

The complaint states that Wilson, Apperson, and Perigan were joint owners of Triple J, a company that specializes in the acquisition and rehabilitation of condemned or run-down homes. Wilson is Granite City's supervisor of Engineering, Planning and Zoning Department, and Apperson and Perigan are city housing inspectors.

As a result of the alleged negligence, the Hagopians claim they were denied the full use and enjoyment of their home, suffered a loss of sound mind and well being, and claim they sustained economic damages in the lost value of their property.

The Hagopians allege the defendants are guilty of failing to inspect their property to ensure the property was not in an uninhabitable condition. They also claim the defendants failed to ensure that personal property was properly handled and stored.

According to the complaint, Wilson, Apperson, and Perigan planned, agreed, and conspired to intentionally and unlawfully deprive the Hagopians of their home without due process of law by exploiting their positions as local government officials to condemn the Hagopian's property for their own benefit.

The complaint also states that Wilson, Apperson, and Perigan willfully and wantonly damaged and converted the Hagopian's personal property.

Granite City will be represented by Jane Unsell of East Alton. The other defendants' are represented by Bill Walker of Granite City.

If Byron does not dismiss the claim, the case will go to trial on Oct. 2.

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