Lawsuits filed on behalf of three D.R. Horton homeowners on Daniel Island allege that poor workmanship caused water intrusion and wood rot. The homes will be tested for mold contamination, an attorney said Thursday.

"The crux of the claim is defective construction ... the end result is mold," said Jesse Kirchner, who is representing the homeowners. Kirchner said he will file a suit for the same reasons on behalf of a fourth Daniel Island homeowner.

Poor workmanship and lack of appropriate window flashings are factors in the water intrusion, he said.

Two of the Daniel Island homeowners who have filed suit live out of town. The third lives here and is on vacation while mold testing is done, he said.

Kirchner declined to identify the plaintiffs in the suits until he contacted them first. The suits were filed in Berkeley County Court of Common Pleas.

Kyle Dillard, an attorney at a Greenville law firm that represents D.R. Horton, has not responded to phone and e-mail messages this week.

Another D.R. Horton homeowner came forward Thursday to talk about potential construction problems.

Chad Price, assistant director of water distribution for the Charleston Water System, said Thursday that his D.R. Horton townhome in Mount Pleasant had poor flashing installation resulting in damaged floors, leaks at doors and damaged framing. He lives in the Peninsula development.

Price said in an e-mail that D.R. Horton repaired his unit at their expense by removing the back door, replacing the hardwood, replacing the flashing and installing a new type of door.

"It took two times for them to get it right and about a year," he wrote. "I'm an engineer by trade, so I refused anything but an adequate repair and still didn't get what D.R. Horton agreed to do."

Two Daniel Island families already have said they moved from their D.R. Horton homes because their kids' doctors recommended it after seeing the results of mold tests.

Benjamin and Joy Allen left their house more than a month ago. They worry that their daughter, Madeleine, 3, has suffered chronic respiratory problems because of mold. They bought the 8-year-old house about three years ago.

Their neighbors, David and Terry Pittman, moved from their house July 4. They are concerned that their son, Anders, 7, has suffered with chronic ear infections, diminished hearing and scarring because of mold in their house. The Pittmans bought their house new about eight years ago. The families have not yet sued but have talked to an attorney, Patrick McDonald.

A Mount Pleasant family in the Rivertowne subdivision moved out of their D.R. Horton home for nine months so $150,000 in repairs could be done to correct water seepage into a wall between the master bedroom and the kitchen, where black mold was discovered. The father, Paul Quam, was diagnosed with the early symptoms of mold poisoning but has recovered. The family has sued D.R. Horton. The home was built in 2003, and they purchased it last year.

Water and mold

--Attorney Jesse Kirchner said Thursday that he has filed suit on behalf of three D.R. Horton homeowners on Daniel Island because of poor workmanship and water intrusion. The homes will be tested for mold contamination, he said.

--Chad Price, assistant director of water distribution for the Charleston Water System, said Thursday that his D.R. Horton townhome in Mount Pleasant had several problems D.R. Horton corrected at its expense. Price said he considered filing suit in small claims court over other related matters.

--David and Terry Pittman said Wednesday they moved out of their Daniel Island D.R. Horton home on the recommendation of their kids' doctor after receiving the results of mold testing.

--Joan and Paul Quam of Rivertowne in Mount Pleasant said Tuesday that they spent $150,000 to repair and treat their D.R. Horton home after moving out for nine months last August because Paul Quam was diagnosed with the early stages of mold poisoning. They have sued D.R. Horton.

--Benjamin and Joy Allen said last week they moved from their D.R. Horton home on Daniel Island more than a month ago on the advice of their kids' doctor after receiving a mold report.

--D.R. Horton attorney Kyle Dillard said last week the company will hire an independent, third-party tester to assess the mold problem in the Allen home. Dillard did not return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment this week.

Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711 or pfindlay@postandcourier.com.

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