LOGAN – Defendants in a lawsuit by a resident in a local subsidized housing facility have denied all the plaintiff’s key allegations, including his central claim that he was subjected to a harassment campaign by the facility’s management firm in an effort to drive him out.
The answer to plaintiff Austin T. Beck’s lawsuit, filed recently by multiple defendants connected to Logan Terrace Apartments in Logan, comes after their unsuccessful attempt to have his legal complaint dismissed out of Hocking County Common Pleas Court.
Beck filed his suit in March, naming as defendants Buckeye Community Forty Nine, LP, which owns the apartment complex; its parent organization, the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation; RLJ Management Co., Inc., which manages the apartments; and RLJ employee Laurie Mowery.
In the complaint, Beck claimed that after he got into a dispute with the management company over a fire in his apartment, he was systematically harassed in an attempt to evict him. This harassment, he claimed, included Mowery’s filing of a false criminal complaint against him.
He further alleged that conditions in his apartment were substandard, and included chronic bedbug infestations, a non-functional deadbolt lock on his door, and non-working smoke detectors.
In May attorneys for the defendants asked Judge John T. Wallace to throw the lawsuit out of court, arguing that Beck had failed to state any claim for which legal relief could be granted, and that the facts alleged in his complaint “lack the necessary level of detail to move his claims from the conceivable to the plausible.”
In a decision filed in September, Wallace overruled the defendants’ dismissal motion. On Sept. 29, they filed their answer to Beck’s complaint.
In the answer, they deny all the factual allegations Beck has offered to support his legal claims for breach of contract; retaliation; breach of warrant of habitability for his apartment; breach of warrant of quiet enjoyment of his residence; wrongful eviction; abuse of process; malicious prosecution; intentional infliction of emotional distress; and vicarious liability on the part of the companies for Mowery’s alleged actions.
Specifically, the defendants deny that:
• Following a fire in Beck’s apartment, law enforcement determined that he was entirely without fault for the fire;
• when the management company sent Beck a letter demanding payment of $5,000 for fire damages, it knew he couldn’t afford to pay, and that the demand would cause him “significant mental distress”;
• when the company moved Beck into a new apartment, it failed to conduct an appropriate inspection of the premises as required by his lease;
• the apartment contained a bedbug-infested couch, and the defendants failed to address the bedbug infestation despite repeated calls from Beck;
• his apartment door had a non-functional deadbolt that was not repaired for seven months;
• his smoke detectors didn’t work, and defendants didn’t repair them despite repeated requests;
• defendants “engaged in a pattern of activity intending to cause mental distress” to Beck, and “openly insulted” him;
• Mowery filed a “false report” with the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office in July 2020, alleging that Beck was engaging in telecommunications harassment;
• Mowery sought a civil stalking protection order against Beck “with the intent of engaging in an illegal self-help eviction”;
• the defendants failed to meet their obligations to maintain the apartment in a decent, safe and sanitary condition; and
• in retaliation against Beck for complaining, the defendants reduced services to him and threatened to evict him.
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