Residents file suit for post-flooding storm damageThe city of Superior is denying flood damage claims filed in Douglas County Circuit Court by residents of the city’s 15th Avenue East and East 10th Street area.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The city of Superior is denying flood damage claims filed in Douglas County Circuit Court by residents of the city’s 15th Avenue East and East 10th Street area.
Two separate complaints were filed in April, one by Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse and his wife Lori, the second by six other couples in their neighborhood, Larry and Dianne Brooke, Richard and Gretchen Flaherty, Richard and Julie Ford, Timothy and Margit Gilbertson, Dale and Rita Kurtz and Andrew and Diana Smith.
Each of the plaintiffs suffered more than $10,000 worth of damage to their homes during last year’s June flood, according to the complaints.
Claims submitted to the city following the June 20 flood indicate damage to these homes ran the gamut from $15,000 to $75,000.
City Attorney Frog Prell’s response to the complaints denied city responsibility for the damage. In both cases, he asserted that the damages were caused by acts of God, and failure of the plantiffs’ private plumbing or sewer systems. He also stated the city is protected from liability by virtue of “discretionary immunity.”
State statute does offer such immunity to municipalities. But these claimants may represent a narrow exception. Each of these residents survived the initial flooding only to have their basements fill with rain and wastewater after a sanitary sewer cover was removed at 15th Avenue East and Bardon Avenue. Both cases cite the negligence of the city, its agents, employees and servants, as the cause of the flooding in these homes.
A total of 69 flood damage claims were filed with the city last year. Superior’s Liability Claims Committee denied them all in late October and homeowners were given a six-month window to start any legal proceedings.
David Kropid, with Marcovich, Cochrane, Milliken, Swanson & Kropid of Superior, represents six of the homeowners. He said he realizes the June 2012 flood impacted many people in the Superior and Douglas County area in profound ways. But these cases are unique, he stated, because his clients believe they would not have suffered damage if the city had not wrongly removed the sanitation sewer cover.
A message left with the LaGesse’s attorney, Gary Halom, was not returned as of press time.