Forks Twp. mobile home park residents bring suit to Northampton County
EASTON, Pa. –
Some residents and former residents of an Easton area 55-plus mobile home park community in Northampton County are trying to bring a class-action suit against the park’s owner and various companies he operates.
The suit was originally filed by eight current and former residents of Jacobs Farms in Forks Twp., Northampton Co., on May 17 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
However, last Thursday, they filed an amended complaint in Northampton County Court asking that their suit against Quixote Ventures, 325 West Paxinosa Road, Easton; Lifetime Manufactured Homes, 51 Penny Lane, Easton; Chestnut Hill Corp., 3959 William Penn Highway, Palmer Twp., and Albert Jinks, be heard in Easton.
Atty. James W. Sutton III, of Feasterville, Bucks Co., told WFMZ.com that he brought the suit to Northampton County after preliminary objections were filed by attorneys for Jinks and his companies against having the suit heard in Philadelphia County.
He said he expects the court will decide in the next few months if the case qualifies as a class-action suit. “There are 120 homes in the neighborhood and we have about three-fourths of them as clients,” he said. “We represent about 80 homeowners in the community.”
The suit says Jinks violated Pennsylvania’s Mobile Home Park Rights Act and the federal Fair Housing Act by requiring Jacobs Farms’ residents to purchase decks, porches, garage bays and other upgrades from companies he owns or controls, and then adding an undisclosed surcharge for materials.
Sutton said that “the driving force” of the lawsuit, Jacobs Farms resident Ellen Klein, who lives at 683 San Simeon Place, was told by Jinks that she had to use Lifetime Manufactured Homes if she wanted to have the deck of her home extended. “She had another contractor price out the work, and it was substantially less than what Lifetime was asking,” Sutton said. “But she was told she didn’t have a choice in the matter.”
Jinks also violated the law, the suit says, by not disclosing water and sewer tap-in fees. Sutton said that Klein spoke with the Easton Suburban Water Authority and discovered that Jinks charged her hundreds of dollars more than the standard tap-in fee.