HGTV's 'Love It Or List It' sued

RALEIGH, N.C. — A Raleigh, North Carolina, couple is suing the producers of the HGTV show "Love It or List It" because they say their home was poorly constructed.

The show's premise follows designer Hilary Farr and real estate agent David Visentin as Farr makes renovations to a family's existing home and Visentin finds the couple a new house that meets their needs.

At the end of the hour-long show, the family decides whether to live in their current, newly renovated home and "love it" or list their current home and move into one of the houses Visentin showed them.

The News & Observer reported that the Deena Murphy and Timothy Sullivan filed a lawsuit in Durham County Superior Court complaining that they were left with a home that was "irreparably damaged."

Murphy and Sullivan are suing Big Coat TV, the Canadian production company of the show and Aaron Fitz Construction, a North Carolina contractor hired to do renovations in the episode, which aired April 2015.

The couple said that although they expressed concerns with with Aaron Fitz Construction's low reviews on Angie's List, they were ignored.

The suit said the show demonstrates how staged reality TV is.

"The show is scripted, with ‘roles’ and reactions assigned to the various performers and participants, including the homeowners," the complaint said.

The complaint said the couple were victims of a breach of contract, and a "bizarre" business model that causes an "inherent conflict of interest" for the production company.

“Big Coat’s purported agreement admits that it is in the business of television production, not construction," the suit said. "The homeowners’ funds essentially pay the cost of creating a stage set for this television series."

The A.V. Club reported that the couple was asked to deposit $140,000 into a fund for the production company. That fund would partially go toward paying contractors and subcontractors.

Attorney James White said he recommended his clients, Murphy and Sullivan, not speak about the case outside of the courtroom, as they have signed a confidentiality agreement with the show.

"We are aware of the lawsuit," Maria Armstrong, CEO and executive producer of Big Coat Productions/Big Coat TV, said in a statement. "Because this matter involves ongoing litigation, our attorneys have advised us and we feel that making a comment would be inappropriate at this time. However, we do intend to vigorously defend what we consider to be false allegations."