Judge to name special master in Lafayette D.R. Horton home construction lawsuit

Ashley White
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

A Lafayette Parish judge ordered that a special master will be appointed in a lawsuit that alleges D.R. Horton failed to properly build a house, causing leaks and mold.

Attorneys for the homeowners, Justin and Anna Pollock, requested the special master in July after arguing that attorneys for D.R. Horton, a national home construction company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, fought requests for depositions and information.

“The ongoing and extensive history of D.R. Horton’s reluctance to cooperate effectively in producing meaningful discovery; D.R. Horton’s violations of this court’s orders regarding discovery and the numerous motions to compel that the plaintiffs have been forced to file — all of which has bogged down this court and effectively stalled the litigation — warrants the appointment of a special master to oversee discovery and hear discovery disputes moving forward in this case," wrote Adrian Simm Jr., one of the attorneys representing the Pollocks.

Attorneys for D.R. Horton argued that both sides needed to agree to the appointment of a special master. They also said the company already had handed over thousands of pages of documents.

Other lawsuits D.R. Horton constructed homes not built for south Louisiana humidity, attorneys say

Read more:What is a special master?

Attorneys for the Pollocks contended a judge could appoint a special master in some instances and that some of the documents D.R. Horton handed over were duplicates, triplicates and blank pages.

Judge Kristian Earles, who presides in the 15th Judicial District, ruled last week in favor of appointing a special master to oversee and hear discovery disputes. Both parties are to submit two names for the judge to consider.

A special master is a third-party — who is frequently, but not always, an attorney —  appointed by a court to oversee aspects of a case, according to Cornell University's Legal Information Institute. 

The Pollocks filed the lawsuit against D.R. Horton in October 2019 and argued their Youngsville home was not properly built. The family moved into their home in September 2013 and by January 2014 noticed severe mold, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claimed windows in the family's dining room, master bedroom and foyer were improperly installed, causing water damage to the drywall and the formation of mold. It also claimed a shower drain wasn't installed correctly, causing it to leak through the kitchen ceiling and creating more mold.

The Pollocks said in their lawsuit that their child was diagnosed with a respiratory illness that "directly resulted from mold exposure" in their home, according to the lawsuit.

Previously: Judge pauses lawsuit against D.R. Horton that claims house can't withstand humidity

In addition to the Pollocks' lawsuit, another individual lawsuit has been filed in Lafayette Parish, and a lawsuit has been filed with multiple plaintiffs in East Baton Rouge Parish. The plaintiffs have asked a judge to classify that complaint as a class-action lawsuit against D.R. Horton. The lawsuits allege D.R. Horton homes were not built to withstand the Louisiana humidity.

A D.R. Horton spokesperson has said the company takes pride in the homes it sells and the health and safety of homeowners is a top priority. The company denies the plaintiffs' claims.

Contact Ashley White at adwhite@theadvertiser.com or on Twitter @AshleyyDi