A couple claims they would not have purchased a new home near a lake had they known a dam on their property was not in compliance with Illinois laws.

Ryan and Angela Cox filed a second lawsuit Nov. 6 in Madison County Circuit Court against Al Hemann and A & L Construction Co. and Sons. They moved to voluntarily dismiss their previous complaint filed in 2006, which contains the same allegations as their Nov. 6 suit.

In their complaint, the Coxes claim they bought real estate from A & L Construction Co. in a subdivision called Oak Land Hills. The subdivision contains a lake, which lies adjacent to the Cox property, the suit states. In addition, a dam lies on their property, which has been in existence for more than 50 years, the complaint says.

But the Coxes say they did not realize that A & L Construction Co. had made structural and hydraulic modifications to the dam when they were developing the subdivision. These changes were not in compliance with Illinois state law, according to the complaint.

It was not until after their July 15, 2002, closing that the Coxes discovered the dam's modifications through a letter they received April 18, 2005, from Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the suit states.

"Plaintiffs justifiably relied upon Defendant Al Hermann's and Defendant A & L's silence as a representation that the Lake's Dam on the Cox property complied with the laws of the State of Illinois, and that Defendants had taken no action with respect to the Dam that would impair the value of the property sold to Plaintiffs," the complaint says.

Had they known about the dam, the Coxes say they never would have purchased their home.

In the five-count suit, the Coxes are seeking a judgment of more than $250,000, plus costs, attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.

Dayna L. Johnson of Greensfelder, Hemker and Gale in Belleville will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-1198.

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