Lawsuit against Surfside Beach, councilwoman lags a year after filing

A lawsuit that names Surfside Beach and one of its town council members, among several other defendants, is still pending nearly a year after it was first filed.

The suit, filed by Julian H. Lazar and his wife, Shirley Lazar, last August, claims that several parties are negligent after the couple bought a house that the town of Surfside Beach later said had to be altered. The bottom part of the home, on the 800 block on North Myrtle Drive, is enclosed, but town officials told the Lazars shortly after they acquired the property that they would have to remove the HVAC system and drywall due to flood regulations.

The Lazars claim they were misled in the sale of the house, and that the sellers and their representatives should have known and disclosed that the bottom level was not compliant with flood regulations. Town Councilwoman Julie Samples was the Realtor for the sellers of the home.

Samples and the town of Surfside Beach have denied claims of negligence in court filings. Michael Battle, an attorney for Surfside, could not be reached Thursday.

The case will eventually have to go into mediation, like all civil suits in South Carolina.

“We are still in the discovery stage of this case, so we will not have a mediation until the discovery is completed,” said Dominic Starr, the attorney for Samples and her employer, Re/Max Southern Shores.

The Lazars also claim the town acted improperly in issuing a permit to the former owners of the home as they enclosed the bottom level.

“I am not at liberty to talk about that,” Julian Lazar said when reached Thursday by The Sun News.

Before the lawsuit was filed, the dispute between Samples and the Lazars was briefly an issue in Surfside Beach’s runoff election last year, when several anonymous mailers were sent to several residents’ homes.

The mailers criticized Samples in the run-up to her special election and suggested that legal action was being taken against her and the town. However, the suit was not filed until a day after Samples officially won her seat on Aug. 23.

Chloe Johnson: 843-626-0381, @_ChloeAJ