A lawsuit filed by homeowners in Surfside Beach against that town and a councilwoman there, Julie Samples, is entering mediation.
In the suit, plaintiffs Julian H. Lazar and Shirley A. Lazar allege Surfside, Samples and several other parties are liable under multiple charges after the Lazars were told the bottom level of their home had to be ripped out. The couple bought the home in January 2015 and were sent a letter from the town in April of that year that the ground level, which was enclosed, was in violation of flood regulations.
The parties are now entering a mediation phase, after Surfside unsuccessfully filed a motion to dismiss the suit. The parties must begin the mediation process by March 22, 2017, or the court will appoint a mediator, according to information from the Horry County Public Index.
The Lazars argue that Surfside is culpable because it approved the bottom-level enclosure in 2013, when it was added to the house, and that Samples is also culpable because she was the agent for the couple selling the house. The previous owners, realty companies for the Lazars and the sellers, and Beyond Contracting Inc. are also named in the suit.
The Lazars’ lawyer, Philip C. Thompson, and Michael Battle, the attorney representing the town of Surfside Beach, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
An email sent by Battle to Thompson in July indicated that Surfside would not be able to make an exception for the couple. A special resolution or action could violate FEMA resolutions and jeopardize town residents’ eligibility for flood insurance, Battle wrote. That email was included in initial court filings for the case.
Samples, who was seated on Sept. 13 after winning a town council special election runoff, was the agent for the couple that sold the house to the Lazars. Neither she nor her lawyer, Dominic Starr, could be reached for comment Wednesday.