BATON ROUGE - One of the dozens of victims allegedly taken advantage of by Complete Construction's Matthew Morris, has some good news.
Last month, 2 On Your Side visited the gutted Denham Springs home of Courtney Stricklin. Then, she was dealing with a lien on her home that prevented her from moving forward with her flood recovery. Friday, all that changed.
"Now I am finally able to move forward with my house," said Stricklin.
At the time Stricklin hired Complete Construction, she was also working for the company as a production and construction manager. She paid the contractor $15,000 to do the work in her home, but says she was billed thousands of dollars for work that was not completed.
She quit her job and hired an attorney. Soon after, Morris slapped Stricklin with a $36,943.76 lien, which she needed to take care of before she moved forward on her house. According to the paperwork, Complete Construction says it completed almost $52,000 worth of work at Stricklin's home.
Lee LeBouef, an attorney at Graves Carley Attorneys at Law, is working Stricklin's case. He tells WBRZ, if a general contractor has a contract with a client above $25,000 the contractor has to file a notice of contract prior to beginning work. In Stricklin's, case there was a notice of contract filed but it wasn't until after the work began.
"As a general contractor, if you don't file the notice prior to beginning work you don't have lien rights," said Lee LeBouef.
The judge ultimately sided with Graves Carley. Complete Construction is responsible to pay all of Stricklin's attorney fees associated with having the lien removed from her house.
LeBouef also says, Morris who is still in jail and faces dozens of charges, has a year to act on the lien. If he doesn't, the lien can be canceled.
This is far from over. In Ascension Parish, either Morris or subcontractors hired by Morris have filed 27 liens against clients. In Livingston Parish, Morris has filed seven. There are some in East Baton Rouge Parish, too. Each will be handled on a case-by-base basis.
"It's going to take some time," said LeBouef.
While Stricklin prepares to rebuild, she encourages others who have not already, to come forward and file information with the necessary agencies.
"I hope everyone gets justice," she said.
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