town sewer back up causing property damages

Previous | Next
 rated by 0 users
Latest post 08-19-2008 9:44 PM by adjuster jack. 12 replies.
  • 08-13-2008 1:22 PM

    Question [=?] town sewer back up causing property damages

    Inc. village easement containing sewer taking villages run off backed up and malfunctioned last October severely damaging a 500 foot length of property in excess of 20K. Contractor came to clean out and then videoscope the inside. It was severely clogged. They found 2 illegal tap in pipes supposedly attached from my home. I am the 2nd homeowner and know nothing about it. Finding out those tap in pipes are non functional and that I am not attached, I sent photos to prove that. The Villages insurance company denied the claim and said they have no legal liability. The previous owner to this home made several complaints prior to us moving in 18 years ago about water problems as well. What are my rights. Is there a notice of defect clause? It happened Oct 07 and it took several months before they decided to investigate sewer. During that time the damages got worse and with every rainfall, I got floods in my basement coming from under the foundation which is located next to the sewer. Please advise. Thank you.
  • 08-13-2008 4:16 PM In reply to

    re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    It should be clear that whatever the former owner complained about 18 years ago doesn't count today.

    If the village was not responsible for the clog then the village would not be responsible for your property damage. That should be simple enough.

    What caused the clog?

    Where was the clog in relation to your property?

    What 500 foot length of property was damaged?

    And how was it damaged to the tune of 20,000?

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 08-13-2008 5:02 PM In reply to

    re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    The village admitted responsibility. The easement runs for 500 feet from the front yard thru the back yard. It continues thru the neighbors yard and out to the harbor (much lower elevation)It was clogged with leaves, roots, dirt and debris. My damage is that it undermined my entire walkway and driveway. There is no soil supporting the bricks and asphalt (its now hollow underneath). It picked up my lawn and poured out dirt and rocks into my pool. It floods my basement from the foundation up because the easement is next to my home. Over the years the humidity developed into mold in the basement. In fact, it may be 20k plus.
  • 08-13-2008 6:49 PM In reply to

    re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    "The village admitted responsibility."

    Apparently not.

    You wrote:

    "The Villages insurance company denied the claim and said they have no legal liability."

    Then it's time to hire a lawyer and sue the village if that's what you want to do.

    You can bet that they aren't going to pay you anything without a lawsuit now.

    Consult an attorney.
    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 08-13-2008 7:42 PM In reply to

    Angry [:@] re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    I already know that. I just posted for advice. You obviously have no legal backing to advise getting council. More importantly than that response was the issue of a notice of defect clause and the illegal tap. Know anything about that??
  • 08-13-2008 11:51 PM In reply to

    re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    "You obviously have no legal backing to advise getting council."

    I do have 35 years in the insurance industry with the last 9 as a claim rep so I do know what happens when an insurance company denies a liability claim to the claimant.

    The insurance company tells it policyholder You're not liable so have nothing to do with this claimant, ever, and refer any communication back to us.

    That's why I've concluded that you won't get anything out of the village without a lawsuit.

    When your claim is denied you file a lawsuit. There is generally nothing in between.

    I don't think that looking for other alternatives besides a lawsuit would be fruitful but I'd be happy to think upon the topic if you could be more clear as to what options are looking for.

    "More importantly than that response was the issue of a notice of defect clause and the illegal tap. Know anything about that??"

    Well, the word "clause" implies that there is a document somewhere with a "notice of defect clause" in it.

    Seems to me that you've already given a "notice of defect" to the village by making a claim that its insurance company denied.

    Not clear what else you are referring to.

    Ditto the "illegal tap". It has no context so what's your thinking behind bringing that up?

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 08-14-2008 1:57 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    Because the "illegal tap" is the reason the claim was denied. It was their out excuse to say NO PAY. Please explain things in simpler terms. The term notice of defect was used in a case very similar to ours and that was the reason the insurance co. would not pay this other homeowner. If there is no advanced notice to a problem,how would the maintenence dept.know to correct it? Therefore if the explosive water happens for the first time and causes all the property damage, would the village be responsible? Thank you.











  • 08-15-2008 10:25 AM In reply to

    ADD'L COMMENTS Please- town sewer backup causing property damage

    bump
  • 08-15-2008 11:07 AM In reply to

    re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    OK, now I understand what you are asking.

    It has to do with negligence law.

    In order for anybody to be responsible for your damage you must show that the party knew of or should have known of a hazard or condition that could cause damage and failed to correct the condition. That's a little oversimplified, of course.

    What the village seems to be saying is that the "illegal tap" allowed leaves, roots, dirt and debris to enter and clog the sewer line, that they had no knowledge of the condition, and are not responsible for something that was sudden and unforseen.

    So, as far as that goes, the denial is proper.

    In order to hold the village responsible you would have to show that:

    The village had prior knowledge of the taps and/or the clog and did nothing about it.

    Or that the village had a duty (either statutory or otherwise) to periodically inspect the sewers.

    Or that the sewers were improperly designed with a defect or insufficient capacity.

    Or that the village had statutory liability to pay in the event of an overflow no matter what the cause.

    Or any combination of the above. Or even others that I haven't thought of.



    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 08-15-2008 11:42 AM In reply to

    re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    I thought of something else.

    There might be a small chance that you have a cause of action against the previous owner who installed the taps.

    NY's statutes of limitations allow certain lawsuits to be filed within three years of the discovery of the condition that caused the damage.

    I'm not sure if I'm even interpreting the statute correctly (CVP - Civil Practice Law and Rules - Article 2 - 214-c). Statutes are often very difficult to interpret.

    And I'm not sure it would do you any good if there was more than 1 previous owner and you couldn't prove who did it.



    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 08-19-2008 8:44 AM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    True but those taps are attached to a gutter that is 3 feet long with no debris or trees around....and the previous owner has passed on. This town is very strict with inspections and completing a C of O. They said they have no record from 1962 who inspection the property before a driveway was put in and closed/buried. I do have letter of complaint from the previous owner about water build up in the yard. Would those work?
  • 08-19-2008 12:06 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,591

    re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    Additional thoughts:

    1. The fact that insurance carrier ducked does NOT mean village is off the hook, merely means carrier says village is on its own...

    2. If villiage admitted liability/responsibility I hope you have that in writing with multiple copes safely stored away--it may be critical---

    3.You say prior owner filed complaints quite some years back--I hope you have multiple copies of same and/or can prove village was placed on notice etc. It may not be easy to ling water puddles to a defective drain line.

    4. Placing village on notice NOW may be critical as to any future problems--but I'd use counsel to draft it so as to attempt to link this to a long practice of notices which have been not acted upon even though acknowledged by village---it needs to be artfully worded.

    5. I think you need solid litigator on such municipal matter and NOT one who relies upon being in good graces of village fathers.

    6. Often an easement addresses need for grantee to maintain it--but sometimes not--I'd look up and copy the actual grant. (Often some older easements did not have maintenance language--but go read yours ..)

    7. If this pipe dumps a lot of stuff into a harbor there may be other serious federal/state pollution issues for village to worry about--and you might want to check this out and rustle any trees necessary--



  • 08-19-2008 9:44 PM In reply to

    re: town sewer back up causing property damages

    "True but those taps are attached to a gutter that is 3 feet long with no debris or trees around....and the previous owner has passed on.

    How long ago? You might be able to sue the estate.

    "This town is very strict with inspections and completing a C of O. They said they have no record from 1962 who inspection the property before a driveway was put in and closed/buried."

    That doesn't sound like evidence of anything. Being strict on inspections and failing to inspect a driveway that somebody put in without a permit is not necessarily negligence.

    "I do have letter of complaint from the previous owner about water build up in the yard. Would those work?"

    That might be evidence of prior notice. But it's one bullet against a howitzer.

    Have you presented that letter to the village or the insurance company?

    You've got nothing to lose by doing so.




    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
Page 1 of 1 (13 items) | RSS

My Community

Community Membership New Users: Search Community