A month after filing a lawsuit against the stars of HGTV's "Windy City Rehab," a Chicago couple is now pushing for the show to be pulled off television permanently. The couple, who purchased a $1.36 million home featured on the reality television program, claim they were "deceived into thinking the hosts were experts in their fields," the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Attorneys for homeowners James and Anna Morrissey cite the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices act in a motion to add Discovery, the parent company of HGTV, to the lawsuit against "Windy City Rehab" stars Allison Victoria and Donovan Eckhardt. The filing claims the episode represented "the renovation of the property was complete and was of the highest quality." However, the homeowners said within a day of moving into the home, issues were discovered, including major leaks, poorly installed windows, and defective and shoddy work.
“Discovery’s promotion, endorsement, sponsorship, approval and certification that Victoria and Eckhardt were experts in real estate renovation and development was a determinative factor in Plaintiff’s decision to enter into the agreement,” the plaintiff's motion states.
The plaintiff's claim as a result of Discovery's "deceptive trade practices," the homeowners have incurred substantial expenses. In their initial suit, the couple claimed to have spent nearly $80,000 on inspectors and contractors to identify the shoddy work.
In response to the motion, Victoria's attorneys argue the request to pull "Windy City Rehab" from the airwaves violates free speech rights. The defendant's attorney also argue the entire case should be dismissed because, under the contract signed by the homeowners, disputes over the home's quality were supposed to go to mediation before matters ended up in court.
In addition to the lawsuit from the Morrissey family, Eckhardt and his company, Greymark Development Group, face a lawsuit from a subcontractor who worked on the same property, claiming workers are still owed money from the project. Space Builders claims it is owed $108,500 for work performed on the property during the rehabilitation stage.
The latest wrinkle to the lawsuit against the "Windy City Rehab" hosts continues a tumultuous period for the television stars. Victoria and Eckhardt drew complaints from neighbors for messy worksites, noise, and unsecured worksites and Eckhardt's company was hit with a stop-work order related to permitting issues in May 2019. The city of Chicago then revoked the permit privileges of Greymark Development Group in July 2019, citing a pattern of building code violations and unsafe working conditions. "Windy City Rehab" enjoyed strong viewership during its pilot season and is slated for a second season, though no air date has been announced.