Temporary restraining order issued against ‘deceptive and dangerous’ plumbing operation in northeast Alabama

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A judge issued a temporary restraining order against a plumbing operation that overcharged customers and started major work without asking customers, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Friday.

The lawsuit was filed against a set of defendants operating as a common enterprise: American Plumbing and Septic Service LLC, American Plumbing and Septic Service Inc. doing business as American Drain Cleaning & Plumbing Service, Davis Unlimited LLC, and individuals affiliated as owners and incorporators, Richard Joshua Pesnell, Jessica Pesnell and Richard G. Pesnell.

Marshall said 33 victims have been identified in Calhoun, Talladega, Randolph, St. Clair, Etowah and Marshall counties.

The plumbing businesses deceived customers by refusing to give estimates when asked, charging exorbitant prices beyond previous estimates, claiming huge repairs were needed when they were not, and starting major work without permission, Marshall said. They also are accused of pressuring customers to take out loans and in one case, Marshall said they took a loan out in a customer’s name without his permission.

“Many of these consumers were vulnerable and in dire need when they turned to the defendants for help,” said Marshall. “Instead, they were met with lies and exploitation. The actions alleged in our complaint are serious violations and I am relieved that the Court granted our motion to restrain the defendants from causing further harm.”

Marshall said prosecutors are seeking a total of $1.4 million in penalties and $118,270 in restitution for multiple violations.

People who feel like they were victimized by the defendants can contact the receiver appointed to the case, attorney Jeffrey C. Schneider through Ana Salazar, a receivership administrator.

Calhoun County Circuit Judge Brian Howell also ordered that the defendants’ assets be frozen and appointed a receiver to handle financial matters and accept claims from victims. A preliminary injunction hearing is set for August 16, 2018.

Attorney General Marshall was joined in the State’s complaint, filed in Calhoun County Circuit Court, by the Alabama Board of Electrical Contractors, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board, the Alabama Onsite Wastewater Board (AOWB) and the Alabama Plumbers and Gasfitters Examining Board.