Kanawha residents sue FNMA, real estate firm after purchase of 'meth house'
CHARLESTON -- Three Kanawha County residents are suing the Federal National Mortgage Association and Real Estate Central, LLC, after they claim they participated in deceptive acts or practices. On Sept. 2, 2010, Robert Barnes, AnneMarie Barnies and Salvatore Stazzone purchased a home and real property in Dunbar, according to a complaint filed April 27 in Kanawha Circuit Court. Stazzone claims it was his intention to purchase a home for the use of his niece, AnneMarie Barnes; her husband, Robert Barnes; and their infant child. The property in which the plaintiffs purchased was owned by Fannie Mae and was listed for $69,000 and they were shown the home by Lisa Ramkey, a real estate agent of Real Estate Central, according to the suit. The plaintiffs claim Ramkey informed them that the home was a foreclosure, that it was a good price, that it was in a good school district and that it had no major defects. Ramkey did not inform the plaintiffs "that the home had ever been a clandestine drug lab or that it was contaminated with harmful chemicals," according to the suit. The plaintiffs claim they agreed to a sale price of $62,000, and, after their purchase of the home, they hired contractors to perform remodeling work. On Oct. 7, 2010, the plaintiffs "were shocked and horrified to receive a notice from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources that the home was an unremediated clandestine meth lab and they had to remediate the home or tear it down within 30 days," according to the suit. The plaintiffs claim they immediately consulted with a company that specializes in remediation and had their home tested, which resulted in the discovery that the home had 1,500 times the allowable limit for residual methamphetamine set by the state and the county. As a result, the plaintiffs were forced to spend at least $8,333 for remediation services, which did not include the cost of testing. The plaintiffs claim the defendants negligently failed to disclose that the home was an unremediated drug lab and that it was uninhabitable because of its use as a drug lab and required thousands of dollars in remediation work. The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Kristina Thomas Whiteaker and David L. Grubb. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charles E. King. Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-687