CHARLESTON -- A man is suing three individuals, a lawyer and a bank over a piece of property he said he bought only to find out it had already been sold.

Raymond Richard Smith filed a lawsuit Feb. 9 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Maria Catalano, Jeremy Casto, Jerad D. Casto, Robert M. Fletcher and Poca Valley Bank.

Smith alleges he bought a piece of property on the north side of the Elk River below Jarrett's Ford for $68,000 in April 2006 from Catalano and the Castos.

The transaction was closed at Poca Valley Bank, which Smith alleges retained $316 to pay for the deed transfer stamps at the Kanawha County Clerk's office. Fletcher, a lawyer, was paid $100 to do the deed work, the complaint says.

The property came with a warranty and an assurance that there were no liens or encumbrances on the property, Smith contends.

Smith alleges that Fletcher never did the deed transfer work. And Smith says he found out later that the property in question had already been sold to Sunrise Atlantic LLC for $1,900 because of delinquent property taxes from 2005.

Smith says he never had notice of this sale and would have been aware of it if Fletcher had ventured to transfer the deed.

The complaint charges negligence, professional negligence, breach of contract and other damages, including the price Smith paid for the property.

Timothy J. LaFon is representing Smith. Kanawha Circuit Judge Irene Berger has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-203

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