Couple's case over home built with 'shoddy workmanship' set for hearing

Amelia Flood Aug. 17, 2010, 3:00am


Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack is set for a post-judgment hearing in a case brought by a Jerseyville couple over a newly constructed home they claim was never finished.

Plaintiffs Steven and Amie Hutchens, who also claimed there had been liens filed against the property by sub-contractors, won a default judgment last year against CR of Illinois for more than $130,000.

Defendants Rich and Mary Coffman had been dismissed from the case but were brought back in after the plaintiffs amended their complaint.

The parties were ordered to mediation in March.

The post-judgment hearing in the case is set for Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Additionally, a status conference in the suit was moved from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27 at 9 a.m.

The Hutchenses filed suit two years ago.

In their complaint, they allege they hired CR of Illinois and the Coffmans to build a home in Jerseyville and that they paid the defendants $299,950 in full.

They claim they also paid an additional $7,000 to finish work that was never done by the defendants.

The plaintiffs claim that the defendants never completed the home in full, that it was completed with "shoddy workmanship," and that the problems forced them to live in the home's basement for an extended period.

Additionally, the plaintiffs allege that the defendants did not pay the subcontractors who worked on the job.

The subcontractors then filed liens against the plaintiffs as a result.

The suit is seeking damages including $30,000 in compensatory damages, at least $50,000 in punitive damages, the satisfaction by the defendants of the subcontractors and other relief including attorney's fees.

The plaintiffs moved in May 2009 for a default judgment against CR of Illinois for its failure to respond to the case.

Although Litchfield attorney Christopher Hantla stepped in as counsel for all of the defendants shortly after, he withdrew from the case citing a conflict in August of that year.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, who presided over the case at the time, entered the default judgment in November, awarding the damages in December.

Crowder awarded $81,970.97 in compensatory damages, $50,000 in punitive damages and $6,712 in attorney's fees and costs.

The latest action in the case saw Stack order the defendants to produce the VIN number for a certain automobile and income tax depreciation schedules for 2008 and 2009 within one week of his Aug. 11 order.

Stack took over the case from Crowder after she took full control of his former asbestos docket July 30.

The Hutchenses are represented by Julie Harper of Alton.

The Coffmans represent themselves.

The case is Madison case number 08-L-1133.

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