Neighbors at odds: Suit Filed over damage caused by Florida ‘Tilted’ Property 

Two Florida property owners have taken legal steps against their neighbors after sustaining significant damage to their homes due to the neighboring property’s instability.

Beasley Allen represents William B. Lawrence III and Gene P. Stienecker in this lawsuit against James Sturgeon and Yik Chun Wu, co-owners of the problematic three-story home located at 5101 Gulf Drive D in Panama City.

The case has caught public attention and involves a property widely referred to as “The Tilted House” due to its precarious condition.

The action stems from a sequence of events initiated on January 9, 2024, when a weather event, marked by tornadoes, struck the Florida panhandle. During this weather event the Sturgeon-Wu Property collapsed onto the plaintiffs’ homes. The ensuing and ongoing damage includes cracks in walls, foundation damage, and other structural issues.

The situation has escalated due to the property’s continued deterioration, with several news reports and social media posts referring to the structure as “The Tilted House.” Photographic evidence in the lawsuit highlights the progression of damage since the initial impact and underscores the direct effect on Lawrence and Stienecker’s properties. Further complicating the matter, the Bay County Building Department has deemed all affected properties uninhabitable, citing ongoing risks from the unstable structure.

Efforts to address the situation have been met with challenges. Despite Bay County’s issuance and subsequent re-issuance of a demolition permit for the Sturgeon-Wu Property, progress has been hindered. The defendants have reportedly demanded that the plaintiffs waive all liability related to the demolition work – a condition the plaintiffs find unacceptable. As a result, the damaged and dangerous structure remains, exacerbating the risk and stress for the affected homeowners.

This is not the first instance of damage caused by the Sturgeon-Wu Property. The lawsuit notes that in 2018, during Hurricane Michael, the plaintiffs’ properties were similarly damaged due to the collapse of the same neighboring property.

“Our clients have suffered significant damage to their properties due to the defendants’ negligence and failure to address the unstable and hazardous condition of their property,” Beasley Allen Attorney Rebecca Gilliland said. “They deserve a resolution that prioritizes their safety and restores their properties to their pre-loss condition. We will pursue all available legal remedies to ensure our clients receive the compensation and relief they are entitled to.”

The lawsuit seeks a resolution prioritizing safety and the restoration of the plaintiffs’ properties. It calls for the defendants to proceed with the demolition without imposing conditions that delay recovery and resolution. Furthermore, the plaintiffs seek compensation for the considerable damage and encroachment caused by the Sturgeon-Wu Property onto their homes, highlighting a broader issue of property management and neighborly responsibility.

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