Orphans sue Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has been sued by a family of five orphans who claim that they were denied the new home promised to them by producers of the show.

The five Higgins children lost both of their parents in early 2004 when their mother died of breast cancer and their father of heart failure. The orphans were later taken into the home of the Leomitis family, who were acquainted with the Higgins clan through church.

After ABC producers learned of the children's misfortune, they stepped in to replace the Leomitis home with a nine-bedroom mansion. They also showered the Leomitis and Higgins families with gifts such as cars, computers, stereos, and groceries. Pardee Homes--the company that built the new house--paid off the mortgage in full, but allowed the Leomitises to retain the property's title.

According to the Higgins family, the trouble began immediately after construction of the house and production of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode concluded. The Leomitises allegedly launched "an orchestrated campaign" to drive the Higgins children out of their new home by battering them with verbal insults, racial epithets, and physical abuse. By the end of March, the Higginses had moved out of the Leomitis abode, and are currently scattered among the houses of other friends.

In a complaint filed Wednesday, the Higgins children claim that the Leomitis family used the orphans to increase their chances of being chosen to appear on the show. They also accused ABC of fraud and breach of contract. "We were promised a new home," says eldest sibling Charles Higgins II. "They broke that promise."

The network will not respond to questions about the lawsuit, but did release a statement saying, "It is important to note that the episode was about the rebuilding of the Leomitis family's existing home to accommodate the inclusion of the five Higgins siblings, whom the Leomitis had invited into their lives following the death of their parents."

Patrick Mesisca, lawyer for the Higginses, acknowledges that ABC never made a written promise to the children, but believes that the network's statements and actions were promise enough.

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I'm embarrassed that the human race has come to this. I agree with the 22 yr old needing to get out there and take responsibility, but i also think that the Higgins family should've been given the house. One of them was an adult, NOT A CHILD. Although, the thing that pains me, is the fact that we as people seem to want to sue people all the time over the dumbest of things. This wasn't dumb, but i, for one, would not have taken anyone to court. I would've stepped up to the plate, and provided for my family myself. Instead of expecting someone to give it to me. I have four kids of my own, and we rent a 2 bedroom trailer. One of them was born with birth defects, one of them I lost only 25 days after he was born, and I have Fibromyalgia. But you don't see me going to someone and asking for a hand out, or suing someone just because it would be easier to get money that way. No, I fight for everything that I want, or have, or need, and that's what I think the Higgins family should do. Because then, they could look back and say 'we did that with no one's help, and we made it to where we are today.' That is much more satisfying then suing someone for money so you can get a house for your family. I understand they lost their parents, but there are other people out there that have had bad things like that, or worse, happen to them. And I bet that not all of them are asking for hand outs. But that is how I feel, and it is only my opinion.
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I REALLY FEEL BAD FOR THE HIGGINS FAMILY AS WELL AS EXTREME MAKEOVER.iTS UNFORTUNATE THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD THAT PREY ON THE KlNDNESS OF OTHERS,THE LEOMITIS FAMILY SHOULD BE VERY ASHAMED OF THEIR DECEITFUL BEHAVIOR!
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Whatever! The only deep pole anyone is in is Joshua and Jeremiah. You want to know what kind of people the Higgins kids are. Go to Los Angeles county inmate information and type in Jeremiah and Joshua Higgins. They were just arrested on May 6th in Downey. Both have been charged with felonies. Joshua's bail is set at $1,115,000.00 and Jeremiahs at $80,000.00. I'm suspecting they were the two individuals arrested in Downey for burglarizing someone's home. Check it out it's in the Downey newspaper crime section. May 6th. WOW! Nice. If they've always had good character and were raised to be productive citizens then why are they in Jail? Can't blame the Leomiti's. They got them as adults and late teens. Hmmm somethings fishy here. I guess the Leomiti's were right after all. Can't fix what's already broken. Hey well at least they tried. As for the other families who proclaim to have loved them so much I ask you this. Where is the love now? Oh wait the kids didn't get anything out of this lawsuit so I guess they mean nothing to you now. Nice. So I guess I have to agree with Charis..I mean "Princesssc20210" Karma did come back and bite someone in the butt...BUT it wasn't the Leomiti's!
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Its funny because karma came back to bite the Leomiti family in the butt! They recently lost the case against the Higgins family. Yeah the case against ABC was thrown out a long time ago but I am glad that the Leomitis had to pay for all the crap they put the Higgins family through. God knew the truth all along. What a horrible, disgusting, selfish, money hungry, careless, heartless family the Leomitis are. Those kids lost their parents and you go and take what happiness they had away from them. Too bad you guys are the ones in the deep hole.
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I just want to comment on this story its so sad that this family gets what they wish for when it was intended for the whole family(both families) and they cant appreciate it I live in a mobile home that is 16*80 with two teenagers and two dissable kids age 6 and 2 and the worst part is that all i have is a three bedroom MOBILE HOME AND THE SMALL CHILDREN SLEEP WITH MY HUSBAND AND I..... I WOULD BE HAPPY WITH A STORAGE ROOM FOR THEIR SUPPLIES OMG PEOPLE !!!!
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Some people are never satified
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stillno40acres, did you not do your research on this case? the family is samoan...not white. but you go ahead and blame white people. it's easy and expected.
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stillno40acres, did you not do your research on this case? the family is samoan...not white. but you go ahead and blame white people. it's easy and expected.
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stillno40acres, did you not do your research on this case? the family is samoan...not white. but you go ahead and blame white people. it's easy and expected.
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I love the show Extreme makeover: Home Edition ,they do alot of good for people who really need it.I feel sorry for the Higgins family,but I think they are suing the wrong people, they should be suing the Leomitises family because they are the ones who kick them out of the house after it was built for them. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came in to build the home for both families so they could live together as one family. It was not right for the Leomitises family to kick the Higgins Kids out of the home .If anyone should of left it should of been the Leomitises. barbara3834
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THE HOUSE BELONGS TO THE ORPHANS W/O THEM THE OTHER FAMILY WOULD HAVE NO HOME.



SOME PEOPLE TAKE A GOOD THING AND USE IT FOR PERSONAL GAIN.



IF ANYTHING THE HOUSE SHOULD BE SOLD, THE MONEY SHOULD GO TO THE ORPHANS AND JUST TO BE A GOOD CITIZEN~~~GIVE THE CURROPT FAMILY JUST ENOUGH TO PUT DOWN ON ANOTHER HOME~~~NOT MANSION, BUT MODEST HOME.



OR JUST MAKE THEM GO RENT AN APARTMENT AND GIVE THE ENTIRE MONEY TO THE KIDS



1. FOR COLLEGE

2. FOR A MODEST HOME THAT FITS THEM ALL UNCRAMPED.



I CANT STAND PEOPLE WHO ABUSE THE SYSTEM
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I have to agree that "children" who are 22-years old should be out trying to support themselves. How long did the oldest "child" intend to live in this mansion? The five siblings should have gone on EM:HE themselves. When they go on with another family, they run the risk that the other family is going to have a share in this house. It will be interesting to see what constitutes an "orchestrated campaign" in their minds.



That being said, I do believe EM:HE goes too far in what they provide families. A bigger, safer home is one thing, but cars and fancy TVs are quite another.
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According to the Abrams Report on MSNBC the lawsuit lists the Leomitis family as the first defendents then ABC and the producers of EMHE. I dont know if this even makes a difference.
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Hopefully the Leomitises family will be named in the suit as well, however it is the "Deepest Pocket" the lawyer is after. And lets face it ABC has the deepest pocket. I have always heard there is three sides to every story. Your Side...My Side and The Truth. Who is the true victims here? The Higginses children...regardless of the lawsuit losing one parent is more than any one child should have to deal with much less two and seemingly out on the street to boot! If the story is valid the Leomitises family should be ashamed...and would do wise to remember what goes around comes around.
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Extreme Makeover Home Edition remains one of my favorite tv. shows. I love Ty and the rest of the crew for their humanitarian spirit and no one can deny how their love and generousity touch and change peoples' lives. To see their good intentions cast in this black light, is upsetting. As for the folks accused of acquiring their beautiful new home by using the tragedy of five orphans as leverage, well, karma's a ****, but how much of the real story do we really know? What else went on? I hope the kids find peace over the loss of their parents. I also hope that people aren't jumping to conclusions about what really happened. It would be a shame to trash the Leomitis unfairly. Whatever the case, I still love the show and hope many more families will benefit from their generousity and committment to helping those in need of a new beginning.
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Consider the other side of this story... The Higgins family brats! There are many points already made about the heartless and wrong decision made by the Leomitis family to force the children out of the new home. Has anyone looked into why they no longer live there and under what conditions they left? After this story broke, I have heard independent reports about two of the Higgins children and their behavior problems from two different personal friends. Take it for what its worth... Two personal friends of mine who are police officers have had two separate "run-ins" with the Higgins siblings. During both occasions, the Higgins siblings were described as "spoiled" and had a "we need to get paid." kind of attitude. Two police contacts within weeks of each other? Come on... How out-of-control are these Higgins children? I would be willing to bet the Leomitis family reached a boiling point and had to make a decision. Either remove the problem children or keep the Higgins children together and move them all. As far as the lawsuit, of course, they are going after the deep pockets of the Network. That’s lawyer-101. Their best chance of getting anything at all is from the Network who can afford to settle out of court. To me, it sounds like the older Higgins children have ruined their recent good fortune and are creating an ugly incident for everyone involved.
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Again, I can only say this is yet another example of white Americans and white-owned corporations exploiting black people in order to line their own pockets. We see now that the Leomitis family did not take these children out of the goodness of their hearts but did so in the hopes that some television show or magazine would take notice of their "kind deed" and give them national exposure often leading to contributions by sympathic citizens. In this case, it was a greedy network, probably working in concert with the Leomitis to use those orphans because it made for good television. A poor ass white family is just not interesting in and of itself. But throw in the alleged unselfish act of giving shelter to a group of orphaned black children and, lo and behold, now you're talking!!! Saying that the Leomitis family is going to get their's in the next life is not good enough - they need that house burned down in this life! And ABC needs to step up the plate and give those kids a house with the deed in their names only. By giving the Leomitis' the deed, wasn't ABC just creating a "sharecropping" situation for those children? Weren't the children "thrown off the land" after they had gotten a viable "crop" (the TV show)?

I'm going to ask again - where's Oprah Winfrey? Since giving out cars to people who already have one because it makes good press? Is giving spa vacations to her staff more satisfying than helping a family of orphans stay together after the deaths of both of their parents? Come on, Donald Trump - you wasted 16 weeks feeding that carp-mouthed Omarosa, a completely useless black woman - can't you do something for these kids? You know how you love a great story - about yourself. And finally Martha Stewart, didn't life in prison temper your fear of black people other than as domestic servants (although I don't really think you allow black people to work in your homes - not even us "high yella house n_______rs") Wouldn't helping these children assist you in your quest to make it to the "pearly gates"?

I hope ABC steps up to the plate and does something for real on behalf of these children. The network (and the Leomitis' as homeowners) knew exactly what was going on from the very beginning. When the Pardee Homes paid off the mortgage on the property, the Leomitis should have been required to turn over the title to ABC which, in turn, should have granted the property to the Leomitis family and the Higgins family equally as joint tenants in common (with the childrens' interest in trust with the court as guardian). This is not rocket science for a big corporation like ABC but it is the ongoing science of racism that permeates the entertainment business. Just look at these rappers out here who have yet to figure out that they are only getting 15% of each dollar that they are making for their record companies - as long as they have hit records everybody wins, but when they lose they lose by themselves. And who is the richest rapper out there? EMINEM!!!! Wake up, Black America - as long as we can make them money, we will always be treated like minstrel singers.
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Love how african americans and other minority groups claim racism and then make comments such as yours.... About the most racist thing I've heard for a long time. Someone certainly has a chip on their shoulder. As for this white family, get your facts straight...they were Samoan. But well done for making it clear to everybody that you are an ignorant racist human being. As for your comments in regards to Oprah and trump etc, they donate more to charity every year than you can possibly imagine, so if they want to give away cars to their audiences to make good publicity then They should go right on and do it as far as I'm concerned, because without their profits, they couldn't donate what they donate. Grow up and stop being so hateful, because it is comments such as yours that increase animosity and intolerance towards other people in this world.
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I've read at least 20 of these postings and would like to reply to all of you that jump on one side of the fence or the other. The news stories that I've read don't seem to represent but one side of this situation. Do we even know for sure that these kids were kicked out, maybe they just left on their own just to cause trouble. These days it's not prudent to choose a side without knowing all the facts. If however the facts to turn out to be that this family took these kids in just for fraudulent purposes and they supposedly believe in God, then I'm sure if they've read the Bible, they know that God's punishment awaits them... and I think he will dose it out a lot better than the American court system. Which by the way seems slightly skewed as of late. After all, they have let guilty people off for years (those with fame and money)...
I think that more than enough frivilous lawsuits have been filed in the last 10 years.
Here's one I'd like to file --- Sue the American court system for failing to protect the innocent and letting the guilty roam our streets at will.
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First of all, I am one of those innocent until proven guilty types, so I'd like to hear what the Leomitis' have to say about all this before I call up the lynch mob.

Honestly, there are some holes in this story, and the house was promised to the family unit, not just the orphans. If anyone broke that contract it was the Leomitis and only they should be sued, not ABC, but then the Leomitis do not have the deep pockets.

Furthemore, who knows what was going on in that house, what if both parties were not getting along and the kids decided they wanted the house and didn't want the Leomitis in there anymore, especially now that the eldest "child" is 22, and can legally take care of all the children. So they sue to get a house and a big, fat settlement from ABC to hold them over for a while for money. Sorry, just playing Devil's Advocate, as nothing is ironclad with regards to guilt so before you hang these people, let's try them first!
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Stories like this just irritate me greatly.

I don't believe that the show should be held accountable for this unfortunate situation.

If this 'orchestrated campaign to drive the Higgins children out' is true, The Leomitis family has sunk to the lowest common denominator of humanity and should be held accountable for their actions, particuarly the verbal and physical abuse.

Taking advantage of children in order to 'get rich quick'? How disgraceful.

The show itself was not in the wrong. Although they may want to reconsider their policy of going all out for the families to deter fraudulent attempts to be on the show, they did deliver a home for the family as a whole to live in. The family in question however turned on the newer portion.
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Once again, some people made a pact with the devil by accepting to be in a reality show, then they complain that it burns...
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This makes me embarrassed to be part of the same species!
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I do not see how the Higgins family has a case since there were the ones not promised the house in the contract. I personally think ABC chose the wrong family in that such a complicated situation of taking on another family to live with you is fraught with difficulties, but the fame just makes it worse.
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lol
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ABC and EM:HE schouldn't be sued, the Leomitises are the ones to blame!
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that sounds like the Leomitis' family's problem, not ABC's... by that article the Leomitis' should be the people getting sued >0
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Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. I think if they can't live together in peace then they ALL should move out. Whay should it be fair for some and not the others. The poor kids lost their Mother and Father and now this. It's a shame when greed takes over.
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We may be jumping to conclusions here. Don't we all know that a lawyer will make things sound as bad as they can, and that the Higgins "children" (notice the oldest is 22 and youngest is 15--not exactly infants) may be exaggerating the alleged mistreatment. The article indicates the Leomitis brought the Higgins into their home and that EMHE learned about their situation from a newscast. That doesn't sound as if it was a plan to get a new home. Could it be possible that the two families of teenagers and adults just didn't see eye-to-eye? The Higgins clan were guests in this home. Now they want to sue ABC to give them another home? What greed.
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I swear that family, the Leomitis are complete scumbags!! I my opinion, they are the ones who should be getting sued by the Higgins kids. From reading this article, I don't see how ABC or Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are legally responisible for their falling out.
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The Higgins should sue the Leomitises for all they have. ABC did nothing wrong, it's the Leomitises fault the Higgins don't have a home.
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I don't think ABC did anything wrong. I think the orphans are just suing the network along with thr Leomitises to get more attention for their horrible problem. That doesn't bother me too much but it gives people the wrong idea about Home Edition and ABC. They didn't do anything wrong. It it only the Leomitis family who are in the wrong here. I don't understand how anyone could treat 5 children so horribly after they had just lost both of their parents in less than 6 months.
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The Leomitises are a disgusting family. it is a horrible thing to do
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Was ABC building a new house to console the orphans, or to reward the Leomitis family? If the house was for the children then it would have been in their names as well. I think if the show was saying, "here's a house for the Leomitis family in thanks for taking in these orphans," then they should have stipulated that if they kick the orphans out before they're 18 then they lose the house.

Either way ABC screwed up, and the kids deserve some compensation for being exploited. ABC should make good and then sue the Leomitis family for fraud. They won't win in court but they can use their network to publicly humiliate them if they don't settle.
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THE STUPID LEOMITIS FAMILY!!!! ABC DOESN'T DESERVE TO GET SUED IT SHOULD BE THE LEOMITIS FAMILY! THOSE JERKS ALL THEY CARE ABOUT IS THEMSELVES NOT THE HIGGINS FAMILY JUST THEMSELVES. ABC SHOULD GO TO COURT WITH THE LEOMITIS FAMILY AND THE HIGGINS FAMILY TO SETTLE THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL AND IT SHOULD END UP THE LEOMITIS FAMILY GETS SUED THERE HOUSE GOES TO THE HIGGINS FAMILY AND ABC STILL DOES EM:HE FOR AS LONG AS THE TY PENNIGTON WANTS TO DO SO. THOSE SNEAKY LITTLE JERKS!
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I wonder if the Leomitis family has a different take on these events.
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I hope this case gets thrown out of court. There's no basis for it. It was the Leomitis family's home and if they took the orphans in just to get a home makeover, ABC and the orphans should sue them. That's obviously fraud and ABC did not participate in that fraud.
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man, that is so messed up! but they shoulldn't be sueing ABC b/c what can they do? they should be sueing the family that kicked them out! and the Leomitis family should be ashamed of themselves! i once liked the show but soon it bored me and i stopped and reading the article just make me dislike it more and more.
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ABC should sue the leomitis family
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I've never seen so many people respond to a news story on these boards before....
anyway, the Leomitis should have their house burned down
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Oh my god people! From what I have read above, this isn't an issue for the ABC network and the show, this is an issue for the Leomitis family. They should be ashamed that they have done this to the Higgins family. What should happen is that the show and network should be charging the Leomitis family for the costs and that money should be given to the Higgins family.
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What's really strange is that I remember this episode well cause it's the only full episode of the show I've ever seen! That's a little creepy...but it's disturbing that this family, who I felt had one of the biggest hearts I'd ever seen, doing this to those kids!
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Under conditions and/or situations as this,(not knowing the Leomitis'would get on the down town bus headed for HELL FIRE),contracts should be drawn specifically explaining what belongs to whom.
ABC is not responsible for the behavior of the Leomitis,aka,HELL RIDERS.
But ABC's legal dept.should earn the big bucks they're getting.
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The idea that the Leomitis family would openly parade the pain of the Higgins orphans makes me sick to my stomach. What's worse is thinking of the parents of these children, who trusted this family to continue their work after their untimely passing. The family is primarily to blame, though this may be a wake up call to ABC to create a safety net for situations like these. I'm sure ABC would not have created this home had they realized the intentions of the Leomitis family. Next time, ABC, please take care to ensure the safety of those who are truly in need! Best of luck to the Higgins family in their plight to save what is rightfully theirs.
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I wouldn't doubt more people are doing this. This is shameful and I don't think that ABC show be blamed for anything. They seemed like such a nice family.
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Man. There are more details to the suit than this article covers. Don't you all think that there isn't also a suit against the Leomitis family? They aren't just picking on ABC. ABC made the ultimate decision that caused this problem. Remember CAUSE AND EFFECT! Someone in ABC's legal dept. didn't do their homework. They opened themselves up to this. Leomitis family, once again good church going and god-fearing folks. Praise the lord. Religion has and always will be the ultimate in hypocrisy. Exploitation, Exploitation, Exploitation. Religion has and always will be the ultimate in hypocrisy. I wonder if the Higginses children had proper representation prior to all this? If so then their attorney screwed up badly. If not, shame on the ABC’s legal dept. lawyers for not foreseeing this. Almost forgot these were god Christian people. Didn’t need to because they might tick off God by holding the Leomitis family’s feet to the fire. Can you go to law school online now?
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I wonder if they moved out and tried to sue the show AFTER they read about the family suing RMF. I suspect there is another side to this story than the one sided version you all seem willing to accept.
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Why are they suing the show? They provided the kids with a house. It was the Leomitis family that cheated them out of the home.
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stefan, did you read the story? the suit seems ridiculous. EMHE built a knew home for the higgins orphans who were in the care of, I assume lagal, guardians in the Leomits, it's hardly EMHE's fault if the Leomits are such vile people as to evict the children once filming is over.

It's hardly like Renovate my Family where shoddy workmanship and twisted statements left a family with nothing.

And any arguament over which is better can be easily summed up with two words.
tracy hutson.

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Man, that almost makes me want to bring back the days when mobs would hang people. That definately deserves some serious hanging.
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I think ABC should build the orphans another home. I'm not saying that ABC is legally responsible, but it would be the right thing to do. Also, it would be cool if ABC did an edition spotlighting how selfish the Leomitis family is while the build the orphans an even bigger and better home.
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