Friday, April 16, 2010

Raising Hail: Contractor Sues CBS Chicago Affiliate for Defamation

Chicago SkylineImage by Paraflyer via Flickr
The owner of a shuttered hail-damage repair service has sued CBS Broadcasting, Inc.'s Chicago station, WBBM-TV, and investigative journalist Pam Zekman, among others, for a story aired alleging his company deceived homeowners, according to Courthouse News Service and the Northwest Herald.

In the suit filed in McHenry County Court, Xteriors, Inc. et al. v. Kavanaugh, Tyrus et al.(Case No. 10LA000135), the defunct Crystal Lake, Illinois-based Xteriors, Inc. and its owner Steven Tatgenhorst also named as defendants two former customers, an ex-employee and a subcontractor. A WBBM-TV report broadcast in April 2009, alleged the plaintiffs misled customers into signing contracts and in some cases, purportedly inflicted damage on roofs that was attributed to the elements. The suit seeks damages of more than $50,000.

The Better Business Bureau gave Xteriors an "F" rating, citing the company's alleged failure to respond to six of seven consumer complaints lodged against it.  Coincidentally, McHenry County Court is where Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued Xteriors, Tatgenhorst, and another company of his, Precision Roofing & Restoration, Inc., in April 2009, alleging violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Business Act [815 ILCS 505] and the Home Repair and Remodeling Act [815 ILCS 513] for purportedly performing substandard work, and in some instances, allegedly no work at all, while retaining thousands of dollars in downpayments from customers.

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