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BP employee sues over relocation, alleged mold contamination

A BP employee is suing after, she says, her participation in the company’s relocation program caused her to purchase a mold-infested home in Katy.  

Fort Bend residents Katherine and Joseph O’Connell filed a lawsuit on May 26 in Harris County District Court against Weichert Relocation Resources, Katy resident Blake Tillack and others alleging, among other things, fraud, negligence and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The O’Connells say that in 2008, BP required Katherine O’Connell to use the defendants’ services to help her relocate from LaGrange, Illinois, to BP’s corporate headquarters, located in Memorial. Based on the defendants’ misrepresentations, the O’Connells purchased a home in Katy, located at 25419 Terrace Arbor Lane.

According to the brief, defendant Tillack’s inspection report failed to alert the O’Connells to the new home’s many defects, including leaky windows and mold contamination, as well as problems with the foundation, electrical work, structure and roof. The O’Connells claim that the mold contamination sickened their 10-year-old son to such a point that they were forced to send him to live with his grandmother for a few months.

The house was in such poor condition, the family says, that they had no choice but to evacuate the premises on April 2, 2010, leaving most of their furniture and belongings behind due to the mold contamination. According to the suit, BP has adequately resolved other employees’ relocation problems, but they have yet to fairly compensate the O’Connells for their troubles.

The O’Connells are seeking actual, exemplary and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees and court costs. They are being represented in the case by Houston attorney Jeffrey Diamond.

Harris County District Court Case No. 2011-32225.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Harris County Courthouse. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.

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