Building owner sues murder clean up company

By Kelly Holleran | Oct 27, 2009

A Belleville man says a cleaning company did not have his permission to clean a property he owned after a murder was committed there.

Jack Hill filed a lawsuit Oct. 15 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Aftermath.

Hill claims he owned a dwelling at 4214 Jessie St. in Belleville that he was leasing to a tenant who was murdered on March 21.

According to Hill's complaint, the police department contacted Aftermath about cleaning up the dwelling. Later, Aftermath entered into a contract with the victim's family on March 22 to perform needed cleaning and repairs, the suit states.

"On or about March 22, 2009, without the plaintiff's knowledge or consent, the defendant unlawfully entered the plaintiff's premises and altered the plaintiff's premises through the use of chemical cleaners and removal of carpeting and other personality from the premises," the complaint says.

Hill claims Aftermath's work destroyed his property.

However, Hill did not discover Aftermath's cleaning and repair work until March 24, when the company induced him to sign a contract, the complaint says. To entice Hill to sign the contract, Aftermath employees told him he would need the signed contract so his insurance company could pay clean up costs.

But Hill's insurance company, Shelter Mutual Insurance Company, did not pay for the work until after Aftermath filed a mechanic's lien on the property for failure to pay, Hill claims.

When Hill tried to sell the property, he was not able to because of the mechanic's lien that had been placed on it, according to the complaint.

Finally, on April 8, Shelter Mutual Insurance Company offered to restore Aftermath to its status quo ante by offering to pay it $2,587.12 for its work, the suit states.

Aftermath, though, charged "outrageous" amounts for the labor it performed and spent an inordinate amount of time for the work required, the complaint says.

In his four-count suit, Hill is asking that his contract with Aftermath be rescinded. He is also seeking compensatory and punitive damages of more than $100,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Dominique N. Seymoure of Reed, Armstrong, Gorman, Mudge and Morrissey in Edwardsville will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-556.

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