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Georgia Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Schuster granted class action status against Orkin’s parent corporation Rollins, Inc., after they allegedly failed to honor their contracts promising to protect homes from termite damage through re-inspections and re-treatments. Ernest Warren and his wife Dolores Warren, of Marietta, Georgia first filed their suit in 2001.

According to

The suit alleges Atlanta-based Orkin Inc. “concealed the lack of proper reinspections/retreatments through a pattern of forgery and fraud” and did the same with other customers in Georgia. The couple claims Orkin “knew of a long-running, widespread problem of its employees failing to reinspect and retreat customers’ homes.”

In February, Rollins (NYSE: ROL) was ordered to pay a Florida man $2.3 million in punitive damages, plus interest, for “gross negligence and fraud.” That lawsuit stemmed from a termite infestation. The plaintiff cited years of problems, including repeated and severe termite invasions — more than 25 swarms in seven years — and Orkin’s failure to obtain both the proper legally required permits and inspections for repair work.

The class is expected to include any Orkin customer in Georgia who bought or renewed a standard termite contract after Oct. 16, 1995. The grant of class action status marks the first of it kind in the state of Georgia. Attorneys for Orkin and Rollins are expected to appeal the decision.

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