A part-time New York couple says their $70,000 worth of belongings were “deliberately left to rot” by a professional storage company — who only informed them of the moldy, smelly damage the day of the move, according to a new lawsuit.
Dennis and Ashleigh Ellis were stunned to learn their belongings, including furniture, clothes and even their wedding album, were “presumably” left in standing water for months by Flat Rate Movers and Storage, according to Ashleigh and the Supreme Court the couple’s Manhattan lawsuit beginning Wednesday.
The couple, who live primarily in Los Angeles, said they were greeted with “a smell of rot” when the company dropped off its boxes at their new West End apartment on December 19, the filing says.
“When the things arrived they were completely moldy and damaged – just unrecognizable,” Ashleigh – a former competitive figure skater – told The Post. “We had a beautiful home that we loved. I remember seeing it for the first time and just bursting into tears.”
She added, “I know it’s just material things, but there were also a lot of sentimental things from our wedding, our wedding gifts, artwork that was commissioned — just priceless items that we’ll never get back.”
Ashleigh, who married her lawyer husband in 2019, said some other sentimental items including her wedding album, family photos and a family tree book they received as a wedding gift were also ruined.
After the company refused to accept the destroyed items, the company and the Ellises, State Farm’s home insurance company said they would not cover the damage.
The couple’s lawsuit, which also names State Farm as a defendant, alleges that Flat Rate had “the audacity to show up at the delivery with a truckload of moldy, damaged and destroyed property that appeared to have been deliberately rotting away for months, but still so acted if nothing was wrong.”
Ashleigh slammed Flat Rate for not standing by her word.
“They expect to hire a professional company and when they show up the stuff is green and moldy and they don’t try to compensate us at all,” Ashleigh said.
Dennis – a partner in the company that processes his suit, Ellis George Cipollone – and Ashleigh decided to move the Big Apple apartments as they had a 1-year-old son and needed more space to accommodate the larger family.
“Now we have an empty house and we have no furniture,” Ashleigh said. “We don’t have a bed. I have an 18 month old son but no crib.”
“That was Christmas time,” she said. “Everything is backordered. We’re just starting to get furniture. It was a nightmare.”
The company claimed that all of the Ellises’ belongings it kept in their former Lincoln Center apartment for eight months were only worth $5,000, when in fact they were worth $70,000, the filing claims.
Flat Rate also gave “every excuse under the sun” for not having to pay for the damage, telling the couple it wasn’t their fault and that “no one can control Mother Nature” without admitting or explaining how the damage happened has arisen to submit allegations.
The Ellises paid a flat $2,500 for the delivery of their belongings, in addition to $500 a month for storage since April 19, 2021. And the couple has been a loyal State Farm customer since 2007 after paying the insurer about $500,000 in premiums has paid. the lawsuit alleges.
“Flat Rate’s intentional destruction of the Ellis property, by exposing or exposing it to stagnant water and moisture, presumably for months, to ensure that nothing could be salvaged, constituted an intentional and unauthorized destruction and defacement of the Ellis property, which was associated with vandalism is comparable,” the lawsuit states charges.
Flat Rate attorney David Giampietro told The Post that the company is not commenting on pending litigation, but said, “We will say that this matter arose from historic storm Hurricane Ida.”
Ellis’ attorney Jeffrey Mitchell told the Post that even if the storm in late August was to blame for the damage, the company did not call the Ellises to tell them what happened at the time, nor did they make any attempts to dry out and to save their property.
“They didn’t pull any of it out, they didn’t call a remediation company to dry it,” Mitchell said. “They made no effort to save everything that could be saved.”
“They just left it there in its rotting state and then delivered it to the customer and shied away from their responsibility,” the attorney claimed.
State Farm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/17/ny-couple-has-70k-worth-of-stuff-ruined-by-moving-company/ A New York couple ruined $70,000 worth of belongings from a moving company