Brattleboro couple receive $140k civil judgment from contractor


BRATTLEBORO — A local jazz singer and her husband, a radio personality on WKVT-AM, were awarded more than $140,000 for a contractor's failure to finish repairs to the couple's home at Fuller Drive, which was damaged by a fire in February 2013.

According to a press release from Costello, Valente & Gentry, P.C., Samirah Evans and Christopher Lenois contracted with Brendan Kavanaugh and his company, Paradox Solid Surface, Inc., of Westhampton, Mass., to make the repairs.

"Kavanaugh's rebuilding job was negligent, behind schedule, and disregarded local building codes," stated the press release. "Ultimately Kavanaugh walked off the job while it was still incomplete."

Evans and Lenois also alleged that Kavanaugh had charged them for work he had not completed, made an effort to misrepresent the nature of his charges, and removed building materials that they had purchased.

James Valente told the Reformer the judgment was approved by Windham Superior Court, Civil Division, by Judge John Wesley. The judgment included the cost to finish rebuilding the home, along with attorney's fees, and costs.

"It isn't over yet, unfortunately," said Valente. Evans and Lenois have yet to collect any money from Kavanaugh. "We need to commence a collection action in Massachusetts."

Through counsel, Evans and Lenois asserted that Kavanaugh's alleged conduct created liability for breach of contract, negligence and conversion under Vermont's Consumer Protection Act. After participating in litigation for more than a year, Kavanaugh failed to attend either mediation or Court hearings, which resulted in a judgment for default against him.

While Kavanaugh failed to show up for mediation, said Valente, he did participate in some of the litigation process prior to mediation.

"We know where he lives and fortunately we don't have to deal with that aspect. We also have to determine what assets he has."

The judgment is bittersweet for Evans and Lenois, said Costello.

"They lost their home in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina. They moved up here and the fire put them out of their house for a year."

Evans and Lenois, who were not available for comment, hired a second contractor, who finished the work.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 160.


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