The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

WATER MAIN BREAKS...

...The Gift That Keeps Giving.

January's water main break damaged more than the city's finances and did more than disrupt water service to numerous municipalities. It has also put a big dent in the wallets of at least two homeowners. Matthew Dolan and Paul Cook, both of 5th Avenue, have suffered foundation
damage due to the flooding caused by the break.

According to the Times Union, the Cooks face up to $17,000 in foundation repairs. Dolan's costs may be more than $13,000. Both were blown-off by their respective insurance companies.

While Cook's damage appears to be as a direct result of water damage, Dolan's damages appears to be the result of saturated soil that seeped into foundational cracks. Dolan should continue to pursue an insurance claim. Insurance companies, like good catholic girls, always say no at first. Cook is likely out of luck.

Our sympathy goes out to the two homeowners. There, but for the grace of God...and so on.

Both owners could bring a claim against the City of Troy. That is a long term, long-shot, solution. Such a claim could take two or three years to wind its way through the courts. They also have a heavy lift. Suits against municipalities are difficult. There are strict time limitations and a host of governmental immunities that come in to play that protect municipalities.

The would-be plaintiff's would also have to establish that the city was negligent. That is another tall order. There is really no evidence of negligence in this instance, although discovery might find some liability against the city.

It would be very difficult to establish that the city was on notice of the specific defect that caused the damage. What about the report that expressed concerns about this very main, you ask? Good question but unless the report gave the city notice of the specific defect (the main will break here because of ...) that will not be enough.

Even if the city is negligent, the city owes no special duty to the Cook's or Dolan. That is, they owe those two owners the same duty the owe all other residence, not a special duty. Unless, of course, the special duty rule does not apply. Perhaps one of our lawyerly readers can weigh in.

We would advise against any settlement. Not that we don't feel for the owners, it's just a numbers game. This will become more and more common and city finances cannot be compensating owners every time aging infrastructure fails.



10 comments:

Robert Cox said...

Home owners wont get a dime Trust me and if they do it will be ten years from Now
Thanks to our City Judges, County Judges, & State Judges who were all you guessed it Lawyers !~~!

Anonymous said...

With none wearing tin foil hats either. I'm sure you'll get to the bottom of this soon

Anonymous said...

This blog has officially jumped the shark. It over.

Anonymous said...

Breaking: Former councilmen Ken Zalewski and Rodney Wiltshire will primary Wade democrats for the county legislature. Could be more, stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Bob cox will always disapoint

Anonymous said...

This blog has jumped the shark.

Phana24JG said...

Slightly off topic, but the very last thing our water mains need right now is another rapid freeze-thaw cycle like we just had.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. This blog has jumped the shark. Discussing the damage done by the water main break is outrageous. Wish this blog would constantly repeat the same nonsense and take credit for things that have nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

McDonald Funeral Home has been flooding for years. No damage. If there foundation was damaged they have removed the evidence. It's above your expertise

Jim Franco said...

Remember, a few years ago, when the basement of one Ken Dufty filled up with silt because of a water main break in South Troy. The city was not responsible for the damage because, in the immortal words of then city engineer Russ Reeves, it was an 'Act of God.' Dufty ended up selling "Act of God' jars of silt out at his antique shop on River Street to, presumably, offset the cost of fixing his basement and as a way to get rid of the silt.