RED BAY, NL – A Red Bay couple is trying to get a contractor into court to pay for damages they say he did to their home.
But tracking him down has become an arduous task.
In January 2016, first-time homeowners Chris Bridle and Josh Nolan bought a house in Red Bay, Bridle’s hometown.
They hired James Dobbin of LJ’s Contracting to do extensive renovations to the house.
Dobbin had attended the same high school as Nolan in St. Mary’s.
Based on photos posted on Facebook, Nolan believed Dobbin to be a talented carpenter and the right man for the job.
But, according to Nolan, that turned out to be anything but true.
Dobbin and his crew arrived in Red Bay on Sept. 7, 2016 to start the work.
While renovations were underway, Bridle was away at work and Nolan only dropped by intermittently due to allergies.
They were unaware of just how poor the work was on their home.
Dobbin left on Sept. 25 and informed Nolan through Facebook that the work was near completion.
But when Nolan and Bridle arrived at the home, they found it in disarray.
The ceramic tiling in the bathroom was falling off and into the bathtub; none of the plumbing worked and toilet water leaked out onto the floor when it flushed; Victorian crown mouldings were put in upside down, cut too short and filled with caulking, and also left out in the rain; floors were ruined and full of scratches; and light fixtures were broken.
“He did a really good job on the siding and the windows, but the inside work – they should have just stopped and been honest with us and told us they didn’t know what they were doing,” Nolan told the Northern Pen.
The couple had to hire new workers to fix the damage.
Dobbin had rewired the house but, according to Nolan, the work was poor.
“There was a fire that started out in our porch,” he said. “Luckily, someone (the new workers) heard, I guess, the noise of the wires and they took apart the wall and it was burnt.”
Nolan calls the house, as it is, “okay” and says the new workers did what they could to fix the state Dobbin left it in.
Earlier this year, Bridle and Nolan filed a lawsuit with Small Claims Court, had everything processed, tracked Dobbin down in Alberta and served him a financial questionnaire the court needed.
But Nolan says Dobbin ignored it.
They’re still hoping to get in contact with him, but Dobbin has blocked both of them on Facebook and they no longer have his phone number.
“We can’t get any money because he keeps fleeing,” said Nolan.
He believes Dobbin is now living in Halifax.
The couple is trying to sue him for damages, repairs, cost of hiring the workers who repaired the work, and court preparation work.
The total they’re suing him for is over $10,000.
The whole ordeal has been a financial burden for the couple.
“This was all of our savings, by the time everything was done, we were closing in on $100,000,” said Nolan. “We literally drained our savings account.”
He doesn’t want to see this happen to anyone else and hopes Dobbin comes forward as soon as possible to settle in court.
“I just want him to do the right thing.”