City settles claims from 2012 flood
The city of Superior has struck a deal with seven homeowners whose residences suffered damage during the June 2012 flood. Following a closed session last Tuesday, Superior's Liability Claims Committee approved a total settlement of $42,000, accor...
The city of Superior has struck a deal with seven homeowners whose residences suffered damage during the June 2012 flood. Following a closed session last Tuesday, Superior’s Liability Claims Committee approved a total settlement of $42,000, according to City Attorney Frog Prell. The City Council does not have to approve the decision, he said, making it a “done deal.”
The decision acknowledges the claims by the plaintiffs, but falls short of the full amount of damages they had been seeking. It was, Prell said, an example of good faith settlement between the parties.
“It’s something I think everyone’s on board with,” the city attorney said.
Claimants were glad to learn of the decision.
“We’re happy that they considered our claims and found them valid and approved them,” said Julie Ford.
The homeowners included in the settlement all have residences in the East 15th St. and East 10th Street area of town. All of them 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.
With last week’s settlement the city took responsibility, said another claimant, Dianne Brooke, which was good to see.
“It was an error and errors happen,” she said.
Although the total amount may appear large, it will be distributed among seven different homeowners. That’s an average of $6,000 per claim, Prell said, which is on par with other claims the city has settled. The settlement will also pull the case out of Douglas County Circuit Court, where it has been since two separate civil complaints were filed in April of 2013. The plaintiffs in the two cases are Charles and Lori LaGesse, 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.
A total of 69 flood damage claims were filed with the city in 2012. Superior’s Liability Claims Committee denied them all in late October of 2012 and homeowners were given a six-month window to start any legal proceedings.
The Brookes were torn whether to join the lawsuit, but they wanted to see their neighbors get help, too.
“This is really good news,” Brooke said of the settlement. She recalled when the same area of town flooded back in 1990. She and her husband pushed for the city to put check valves in homes, something the city did. Having a check valve during the 2012 flooding prevented more damage to their basement, she said.
The two-year process did bring neighbors closer together, Brooke said, an unexpected benefit from the lawsuit.
“We’re just happy, happy it’s over,” Ford said. “You put it behind you and go on from here.” And just maybe, it’s a cause for celebration.
“We have to have a party now,” Ford said.