CHARLESTON – A Nitro couple claims the West Virginia Housing Development Fund is responsible for a landslide on their property.

In a lawsuit filed last month in Kanawha Circuit Court, Jeff B. Long and Aliza A. Long say W.Va. Housing was the owner and/or had custody and control of the property and did negligently repair or have repaired unstable earth and landslides, which has caused or contributed to the instability and collapse of the property.

The suit says that in March 2005, portions of the property suddenly collapsed and slide away, endangering the safety and well-being of the plaintiffs and threatening the destruction of their home, located on Lake Lane in Nitro.

This, the suit claims, caused the Longs great fear for the safety of their family and their home. It also caused them great aggravation, inconvenience, emotional distress and mental anguish, according to the suit.

"The subsurface conditions of the property created by or at the direction of WV Housing were latent and not reasonably discoverable by plaintiffs," the suit states.

In the suit, filed by attorney David V. Moore, the Longs say that until the slide they did not have knowledge of or reason to know of the actions or inactions of the defendant.

The Longs claim they have purchased materials, engaged engineers and hired contractors to mitigate their damage. They say W.Va. Housing is liable for damages, including costs to repair the damage; to retain an engineer and consultants; and to hire contractors. Also, they say they deserve compensation for aggravation and inconvenience, loss of use, emotional distress, economic damages, punitive damages, legal costs, attorney fees and litigation expenses.

The Longs say W.Va. Housing is guilty of negligence and negligent misrepresentation.

They seek a sum to correct damages caused by the negligence and intentional acts of the defendant; damages for aggravation inconvenience, emotional distress and mental anguish; punitive damages "in an amount sufficient to deter the intentional tortuous acts of defendant in the future;" and additional compensatory and exemplary damages allowable including reasonable attorney fees, litigation expenses and costs, pre-judgment interest from March 1 and post-judgment interest.

The Longs seek a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Irene Berger.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 05-C-2758

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