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Attorney General Josh Stein Gets Preliminary Injunctions Against Hurricane Florence Price Gougers

Release date: 10/29/2018

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein was granted preliminary injunctions against two companies involved in separate price gouging lawsuits he filed earlier this month. In the first suit, the court entered a preliminary injunction against defendant Nicholas Downey and his tree-cutting company, Action Tree Pros. The injunction will be in place until the resolution of the case and forbids Downey and his company from conducting any tree removal services in North Carolina.In the second suit, the court extended its injunction against Scott Lacey and Randy Shannon to prevent Scotts Tree Services from doing any business in North Carolina. In addition, defendants Stephen Lombardi, Amy Lombardi, and their debt collection company Goldberg & Donovan, Inc., based in Massachusetts, consented to an injunction forbidding them from conducting any debt collection from North Carolina consumers.

“I’m grateful that these out-of-state operators won’t be able to take advantage of any other North Carolinians as we work to resolve these cases,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Price gouging is illegal and cruel, and my office will not tolerate people who take advantage of North Carolinians recovering from these devastating storms.”

Downey, a Kentucky resident, allegedly estimated $5,000 to do tree removal work on a Wilmington-area property, but submitted a bill for $10,565 when the work was completed. After the property manager ordered Downey not to work on any other properties she managed, Downey ignored this and contracted with co-defendant Premier Landscaping and Lawn Care, LCC, owned by Kentucky resident Jeremy Bugg, to take down other trees at excessive prices. In total, the defendants charged homeowners $78,865.02 for a total of five trees, including one tree for $29,500. The court also extended a temporary restraining order against Bugg, Premier Landscaping and Lawn Care, LCC, Brad Anderson, and TRICO Tree Service, LLC.Scott Lacey and Randy Shannon, who operate Scotts Tree Service, an Ohio company, billed homeowners in Castle Hayne $14,500 for tree removal services without permission or discussion.

To read more on these lawsuits, click here.

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484