Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Columbia residents file suit against NAWCC, alleging property damage from mural

At issue: The mural on the side of the Beckley home at 150 North 3rd Street

Columbia residents Elaine and James Beckley have filed suit against Columbia's National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc (NAWCC) alleging breach of contract, negligence, and unjust enrichment by the company. The complaint stems from a large advertising mural on the side of their residence at 150 North 3rd Street, which was commissioned by NAWCC in 1998, two years before the Beckleys moved in. The prior owners of the property had granted NAWCC a 20-year Deed of Mural Easement in which the company was solely responsible for maintenance of the mural.

In the years since, however, the mural has deteriorated, causing moisture damage to the home, inside and out. Eventually, the Beckleys found that the problem was with the paint itself, which did not allow moisture to escape. The paint had been applied to the century-old stucco-on-brick exterior wall, and due to the paint's inability to "breathe," moisture filtered through the interior walls, causing spots. Moisture was also finding its way through weak points on the exterior, creating cracks and blotchiness on the mural. The Beckleys say that although they reached out to NAWCC several times about remediating the damage, the company refused to address their concerns. They are now demanding an award of at least $50,000, plus costs and other relief as permitted by law, for breach of contract and negligence.


 Cracks and deterioration on a corner of the mural is most likely the result of using paint that is not "breathable."

Photo from 2015 showing water damage on the interior wall opposite the mural


Recent photo of the same area

The Beckleys also assert that NAWCC has enjoyed unjust enrichment by continuing to advertise on their home, even though the easement expired last year. Because the company has not removed the mural, the Beckleys have begun sending monthly invoices for advertising in the amount of $3,000, for a total amount currently due of $59,520, including interest. The $3,000 a month figure is based upon a cost comparison of similar advertising space in the marketplace.

The suit was filed yesterday in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas.

Read the backstory on this issue HERE on Columbia Spy.

Access documents for the suit HERE.

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