The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

May 12, 2014

Franchisee says NHance products harmed health

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

HERMITAGE — Almost 15 months after a Hermitage couple commenced legal action against a Nashville firm alleging the company’s product rendered the husband disabled, the firm has asked that the suit be dismissed.

George A. and Joellen Bonner, 1415 Foxwood Drive, Hermitage, sued Harris Research Inc., doing business as NHance, alleging negligence and fraud.

According to the complaint filed in December – notice of the suit was filed in March 2013 – Bonner entered into a franchise agreement May 9, 2012, to perform NHance wood restoration services in Mercer County.

“Shortly after beginning his franchise business, Mr. Bonner became permanently disabled from continuing the operations of the NHance business due to the fumes and dust of NHance products aggravating his pre-existing asthmatic condition,” the suit said.

The Bonners claim Harris was negligent by, among other things, failing to have a screening process or warnings in place to identify health-related risks of the product; exposing Bonner to dust and chemicals; and promoting the product as dust- and odor-free.

In their fraud claim, the couple said Bonner relied on the company’s claim that the product was free of dust and odors in deciding to buy the franchise.

Harris filed preliminary objections seeking to have the suit dismissed, arguing it had no duty to inquire about Bonner’s heath before he bought the franchise.

The company added that the Bonners have failed to claim the company made any statements it knew were false or reckless.

On a technical matter, Harris said the Bonners failed to say if the alleged franchise contract was oral or written, or include a copy of it, if it was written, Harris said.