Three dozen employees of the West school district whose cars were damaged by painters working near the school parking lot in 2016 have filed a lawsuit against a general contractor and a paint contractor.

The employees are seeking more than $200,000 in their lawsuit, filed in 414th State District Court against Bartlett Cocke General Contractors, of San Antonio, and Shahan and Son, of Dallas.

Waco attorney David Tekell, who represents the plaintiffs, said his clients have been told their cars need to be repainted and have gotten estimates ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 for each vehicle. He said suggestions about how to repair the cars from the companies’ insurance carriers were not satisfactory with his clients, forcing the lawsuit.

“During school hours on or about Oct. 3, 2016, and with a substantial amount of wind in the immediate vicinity, defendants were operating paint sprayers and other devices to paint outdoor areas near the parking lot of both the middle and adjoining high school campuses of West ISD,” the suit says.

“While operating the paint-spraying devices, defendants, among other things, failed to properly account for, or otherwise disregarded the direction and speed of the wind, so that some of the paint oversprayed onto the personal motor vehicles of the above-named 36 plaintiffs, which were parked in the parking lot adjacent to the two West ISD campuses.”

Kirk Kistner, vice president of Bartlett Cocke, said his company and its subcontractor, Shahan and Son, are trying to resolve the issue and he was unaware of the lawsuit.

“To the best of our knowledge, our subcontractor has settled with everyone,” he said. “We are going to be doing our best to resolve it. The insurance company gave them funds to take it to one of certain approved vendors to have something done, and if the vendors said they needed more, they would deal with those on an individual basis.”

Brian Shahan, owner of Shahan and Son, said initially there were 60 claims for damaged vehicles and 24 have been resolved.

He said his company employees were painting a band stand in the parking lot a “grayish base coat” when the overspraying occurred.

The lawsuit alleges the companies were negligent by failing to “exercise ordinary care” while spraying near the vehicles and by failing to spray the paint when “weather conditions favored drift beyond their intended areas of application.”

Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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