Producers Behind HGTV's Love It or List It Sued, Homeowners Claim Show Is Fake

Love It or List It: HGTV Show Being Sued for Damaging Home
Love It or List It host Hilary Farr
George Pimentel/WireImage

04/19/2016 AT 02:05 PM EDT

HGTV's hit home renovation show Love It or List It is in the middle of a legal battle with a North Carolina couple after their home was allegedly left "irreparably damaged."

Deena Murphy and Timothy Sullivan have filed a lawsuit against Big Coat TV – the Canadian-based company that produces the show – and Aaron Fitz Construction, a North Carolina-based contractor hired to complete the renovations. The lawsuit claims the couple's home was destroyed and their deposit wasn't used for actual repairs.

According to papers obtained by the Miami Herald, the couple claims that the series hired a contractor with whom they did not agree to work and that the show was staged. They further allege that he left holes in the floor, did not paint all surfaces necessary and painted numerous windows shut during the remodeling process.

"The show is scripted, with roles and reactions assigned to the various performers and participants, including the homeowners," the lawsuit claims. "These characters are actors or television personalities playing a role for the camera," the lawsuit contends, "and in this case none of them played more than a casual role in the actual renovation process."





Murphy and Sullivan contend that they fronted a deposit of $140,000 for the remodeling, but only $85,786.50 was paid out by Big Coat TV to Fitz. The suit claims the remaining money went to staging rather than to to actual renovations of the couple's home.

"We are aware of the lawsuit," Maria Armstrong, CEO and executive producer of Big Coat Productions/Big Coat TV, said in a statement to the Herald. "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."

HGTV, which was not named in the lawsuit, declined to comment to PEOPLE.

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