Judge Camille Kenny of Elizabeth, New Jersey refused to dismiss a lawsuit regarding a $1.35 million home in Westfield.
In June 2014, homebuyers Derek and Maria Broaddus, who have three children, received three letters from a person who referred to himself as “The Watcher” after buying a home in Westfield, New Jersey.
Shaken by the letters from the so-called Watcher, the Broaddus family refused to move into the house. Instead, they tried to sell it and when that was unsuccessful, they filed a lawsuit against the sellers.
Judge Kenny tossed the emotional distress claims and other counts, but she allowed the others. Needless to say, the sellers lost the bid to dismiss the case.
Alternatively, the judge said that if the sellers’ only knowledge of the Watcher was a single non-threatening letter, then they may seek summary judgment in their favor.
Letters from the Watcher
After Derek and Maria Broaddus purchased the $1.35 million home in Westfield, New Jersey from John and Andrea Woods, they received three letters from an individual who called himself the Watcher.
In the letters, the writer admitted to being in charge of watching the house — a task he inherited from his father and grandfather. The writer also mentioned that he asked for “young blood” and is waiting for the day when they will be his again. He even asked the homeowners if they already found what was in the walls.
Derek and Maria Broaddus, who have three children, refused to stay in the house. Instead, they contacted the sellers after receiving the first letter. Mrs. Woods admitted to receiving a similar letter, but she said it wasn’t threatening.
After a year of unsuccessfully trying to sell the property, the Broaddus couple filed a lawsuit claiming the sellers should have warned them about a disturbing letter from somebody who claimed to be watching the upscale home. The suit seeks damages for alleged fraud and breach of contract.
The sellers filed a countersuit alleging defamation as a result of publicity surrounding the case.
An Unexpected Turn
The Broaddus couple said one of the reasons they purchased the house is the community’s reputation for safety and security — something quickly negated by the letters they received.
According to Westfield authorities, the police conducted an extensive investigation to identify who wrote the letters, but they have yet to find out who it was.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit will proceed.