CHARLESTON -- A woman is suing a local lawyer and member of the state House of Delegates, claiming he rented her an apartment that was unfit for human habitation.

Cathering E. Moore filed a lawsuit May 8 in Kanawha Cicuit Court against the Lane Group LLC, which, according to the complaint, is solely owned by Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha.

The complaint says Moore signed a one-year lease with Lane on Dec. 16, 2007, for an apartment on 34th Street in Charleston.

She says during her stay in the apartment, she encountered several problems that were either untimely addressed or not addressed by Lane, her landlord.

Moore says the apartment lacked sufficient heat, and she had to stay with her mother off and on in Jan. 2008 due to the cold. She says the pilot light on the gas stove wouldn't stay lit and it took Lane two weeks to fix the problem. After that, Moore claims she had to use the stove -- which she claims was filthy and unfit for use -- as the primary source of heat.

Moore alleges that Lane promised to replace the refrigerator in the apartment, which the complaint says was moldy, wouldn't plug in and didn't have a door to the freezer. Moore says Lane never replaced the refrigerator, and she had to use a cooler to keep her food.

According to the complaint, Moore made several attempts to contact Lane to no avail. Then, she claims she contacted the Charleston Building Inspector.

An inspector came to the apartment and looked around. Eventually, the inspector declared the apartment unfit for human habitation, the complaint says. Among the problems the inspector allegedly found were insufficient ventilation for a gas heater and no smoke alarms in certain rooms, the complaint says.

Moore claims Lane sold the property to a third party sometime in April 2008. At that time, Moore says she informed the new owner about the inspector's findings and moved out.

She's seeking reimbursement for rent, cable, cleaning and painting of the apartment, as well as $5,000 for her annoyance and inconvenience.

Steven J. Conifer and Susana Duarte are representing the plaintiff. The case is before Kanawha Circuit Judge Louis Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-865

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