Lawsuit filed over short sale, house fire

A Millstadt couple is accused of not following through on the short sale of their home after it was damaged by a fire.

Michael Kirksey Jr. and Renee La Bruyere filed a lawsuit Jan. 31 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Jimmy and Deborah Mayberry. Associated Bank is also named as a defendant.

According to the petition, in May the plaintiffs agreed to buy a house in the 4500 block of Cedar Bend from the Mayberrys. The house was allegedly marketed as a short sale which required the approval of Mayberrys' lender, Associated Bank. Kirksey and La Bruyere say twice in June they agreed to modify the contract to change the purchase price, the closing cost distribution and the closing date. Then, in August, the bank allegedly required the sale to close before Sept. 1.

Three days before closing, a fire was reported at the house that allegedly caused extensive damage to the property. Since then, Kirksey and La Bruyere claim, the Mayberrys have failed to respond to requests for communication and refused to have any contact with them regarding the sale of the house. Associated Bank has also allegedly refused to intervene or assist in the sale in any way. The plaintiffs say the Mayberrys are now trying to sell the house to another buyer.

A clause in the original contract allegedly detailed the necessary steps if the house should become damaged prior to the closing date. That clause, according to Kirksey and La Bruyere, states the parties will try to agree to either restore the property to a mutually-agreed-upon condition at the expense of the seller or the buyer shall proceed with the transaction and be entitled to the insurance money, if any. The contract would only be terminated if an agreement could not be reached within 10 days, the couple says.

Kirksey and La Bruyere say they fully intend to proceed with the purchase but have not heard from the Mayberrys. They also claim the bank has received the insurance money from the fire. Kirksey and La Bruyere accuse the defendants of breach of contract and ask the court to require the Mayberrys to follow through with the sale. The plaintiffs also ask to be awarded costs of the lawsuit.

Attorney Paul J. Evans, of O'Fallon, represents Kirksey and La Bruyere.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 13-L-58

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