Judgment against N.J. paving company includes $16.8M in penalties

Bryan Cohen Dec. 21, 2011, 12:18pm


NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow announced a judgment on Tuesday against a South Jersey paving company and six individual defendants resolving allegations that they violated state laws and regulations.

A Superior Court judge ordered Williams Asphalt Materials LLC, Bertha Williams, Henry R. Williams, Jr. the father, Henry R. Williams, Jr. the son, Samuel Williams, Saul Williams, Alexander Stanley and Advanced Asphalt Services to collectively pay $285,744 in consumer restitution and $16.8 million in civil penalties to the state. The defendants allegedly violated consumer fraud and home improvement contractor laws and regulations.

The defendants must also reimburse the state $134,707 for legal expenses.

Dow and Division of Consumer Affairs Director Thomas R. Calcagni filed a lawsuit on April 21, 2010, against Williams Asphalt Materials LLC, alleging it operated under the names Williams Asphalt Paving, Williams Asphalt Paving & Excavating, Williams Paving & Excavating, Williams Paving and Williams Paving Asphalt Contracting. The suit alleged that the company performed or sold substandard driveway paving. In addition, the lawsuit alleged that the company subsequently failed to honor workmanship warranties to repair crumbling or cracked driveways. The suit was later amended to include the individual defendants.

The division identified more than 1,600 alleged violations of the state's Contractors' Registration Act, Consumer Fraud Act and related regulations.

"Driveways that should have lasted for years began to disintegrate within months of being paved," Dow said. "Consumers paid thousands of dollars but did not receive the quality product they expected and the warranties offered by the defendants were worthless because they were not honored. The outcome of our lawsuit sends a clear message to home improvement contractors that they will be held accountable when our consumer protections laws are violated."

The consumer contracts sold under the various Williams business names listed the personal phone number of Bertha Williams and her property in Browns Mills as the businesses' locations. Williams Asphalt Materials owned an asphalt plant in Millville where equipment also was stored.

In addition to allegedly performing substandard work, some of the defendants allegedly did not have valid home improvement contractors registrations as required by New Jersey law. Under the terms of the final judgment by default order, the defendants are barred from working in the state until they become registered.

The lawsuit alleged that the defendants engaged in unconscionable commercial practices, knowingly omitted material facts, engaged in bait-and-switch pricing, and made false statements or misrepresentations. The unconscionable commercial practices allegedly included performing paving work of poor or sub-standard quality and then failing to make the necessary repairs or neglecting to honor warranties or guarantees provided in a consumer's home improvement contract.

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