A Texas family is suing a fiberglass installer, claiming their pool had workmanship problems, including one that resulted in brief entrapment incidents involving their children.

Named in the suit are Aquamarine Pools of Houston, located in The Woodlands, Texas, and Aquamarine Pools of Texas, located in Jarrell. Both companies are owned by Mark Naras.

Charges include deceptive trade practices, fraud, breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, gross negligence and malice.

The family is seeking $3 million in punitive and exemplary damages. That amount “would be appropriate to confirm society’s unwillingness to tolerate the kind of conduct the defendants are guilty of and to serve as an example to others,” the plaintiffs stated in their court-filed complaint. In addition, the family seeks up to $1 million in actual damages, plus attorneys’ fees.

Michael and Debra Modisette claim that their $37,678 pool, contracted in 2009, was left with several defects and shortages of certain materials. The homeowners cited leaky equipment and peastone backfill they claim was less than the amount they had purchased. While the homeowners paid for 40 tons, they said, the installer only delivered 24.6 tons.

Also named in the lawsuit among the defects was “an unvented skimmer that created a dangerous vacuum type suction without necessary and proper safeguards ...” 

The plaintiffs said the builder did not install “proper venting for skimmers in the hot tub portion of the pool and failed to provide any form of relief valve.” The document did not go into further detail as to specifically what was meant by venting the skimmers or a relief valve, and the plaintiffs’ attorneys declined to comment.

Because of this alleged omission, the homeowners stated that their children were hurt. “The power of the un-vented skimmer created a vacuum type suction that violently forced [the children] into the skimmer, causing serious physical injuries as well as extreme pain, suffering and mental anguish,” the court document stated. Included with the complaint was a photograph of a large rectangular-shaped welt or bruise, apparently on a child’s back.

The homeowners claim they tried to work with Aquamarine Pools, but said the installer failed to fix the problems and, in fact, charged for the repairs and blamed the plaintiffs. Because of this, they said, they were forced to hire another company to make the needed repairs.

The builders’ attorney said that his clients are currently working to find an out-of-court resolution. Lawrence Tackett of the Law Offices of Lawrence D. Tackett in The Woodlands, said the contract contained a provision requiring disputes to be resolved through arbitration. “In all probability, we will have that case dismissed or at least abated based on that [provision],” he said.

In addition, he said his clients did not cause injury. “My client assures  that [the plaintiffs] didn’t get injured based on anything [the contractor] did,” he said.