The complaint cites negligence, product liability, negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligent interference with prospective business advantage against all defendants. The complaint also cites Fenton Business Center owner, Seymour Lewis, for breaching its lease agreement with Candy Bouquet by not complying with applicable building codes, regulations, and ordinances, and by refusing to honor the lease’s rent abatement while work was still taking place to fix the misrouted sewage water. Though it was, in large part, responsible for the misrouted sewage water, Seymour Lewis threatened to evict Candy Bouquet if it did not receive their rent, in full, by the end of October. As a result, Candy Bouquet was forced to permanently close its doors and vacate the premises because it could no longer afford to pay rent due to a tremendous loss of business in connection with the contaminated water.
"Seymour Lewis has shown itself to be a cruel and heartless landlord,” said attorney Anthony Dain of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP, who is representing Candy Bouquet. “After causing the families to suffer serious illnesses and disease, and after destroying their Candy Bouquet business, Seymour Lewis offered absolutely no help or assistance, but instead threatened to throw Candy Bouquet out on the street. Seymour Lewis' holiday present to the Candy Bouquet families was a December 31 letter demanding immediate payment of all rent. Hopefully, this lawsuit will bring this corporation to its senses.”
While Seymour Lewis handled the design and construction for the new business park, the City of Chula Vista’s responsibilities included the task of reviewing Seymour Lewis’ terrain grading plans, which identified the location and configuration of the recycled sewage and potable water lines. After submitting their initial set of plans to the City of Chula Vista for review and approval, Seymour Lewis altered the Fenton Business Center’s design, providing the City of Chula Vista with confusing and unclear change-of-construction plans. The City of Chula Vista failed to question the plans or even notice that the business center’s grading plans actually showed that the sewage and potable water lines were incorrectly connected. The City of Chula Vista and its inspectors improperly approved the flawed plans anyway.
Otay Water was directly responsible for assuring that the sewage and potable water lines were correctly connected. It negligently failed to follow inspection regulations and its own internal policies and procedures, resulting in its failure to catch and prevent the misconnection. Moreover, Cooper, the Otay Water inspector on the Fenton project who overlooked the misconnection of the sewage pipe to the potable water pipe, was ultimately convicted of soliciting bribes from Seymour Lewis’ subcontractor on the project. Despite timely learning that Cooper had solicited bribes from the very subcontractor who misconnected the pipes, Otay failed to properly reinspect and catch the misconnection for almost two years, ignoring for months the complaints by the persistent tenants.
Anthony Dain and Eunice Lau with the San Diego law firm of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP are representing the owners and family members of Candy Bouquet. Attorneys from multiple law firms are representing various tenants of the business center. All attorneys have made a commitment to coordinate efforts during the ongoing investigation. Attorney Doug Gilliland is representing Unique Wood Designs, PC Joes, Party World, Eastlake Party Rentals and Eastlake Insurance. Jim Meier with the Glendale, California law firm of Calendo, Puckett, Sheedy & DiCorrado is representing the employees of Eastlake Dream Dinners. Dick A. Semerdjian with the San Diego law firm of Schwartz, Semerdjian, Haile Ballard, & Cauley is representing the employees of San Diego Electric Sign, who will be filing their claims early next week. Attorney Eric Johnson is representing the employees of Jumpin' Jumps Inflatables.