Water break leads to city lawsuit

rpulley@lsjournal.comJune 27, 2014 

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    Water main breaks that have led to $100,000 in damages, lawsuit claims

  • 5

    Water main breaks that have led to $100,000 in damages, lawsuit claims

A Lee’s Summit man is suing the city over at least $100,000 in loss to a house he says was caused by a series of water leaks and breaks – a “geyser” which resulted in foundation damage.

Peter Christy said he’s been trying for about two years to get restitution before he filed a lawsuit earlier this month in Jackson County Circuit Court.

In his lawsuit, Christy contends that multiple breaks in a water line in front of the property at 1704 NE Balboa caused damage to his property.

He has an engineering report that says repeated saturation of the soil was at least a contributing factor to movement and distortions that damaged the foundation of the house.

A break in October 2011 shot a 60-foot geyser that went over the top of the house and ran down the porch through the front yard for about seven hours, and by October 2012 there had been a total of five breaks, according to the suit.

Flowing water undermined the porch, Christy says in the suit, and it pulled away from the house causing the house to shift and instability of the foundation. The cause of the breaks is attributed to corrosion of aging water lines, the suit says.

He is seeking restitution including costs associated with the damage to the house and personal property, compensation for loss of use and for diminution in value of the property.

The city’s Law Department said officials are aware of the lawsuit.

“This matter has been managed by the city’s insurance carrier since the inception of Mr. Christy’s original claim in 2012, and will continue to be handled through the insurance carrier under the terms of the City’s liability policy. We anticipate that the lawsuit will be vigorously defended.”

City officials declined to comment further because it is ongoing litigation.

Christy, in an email, said first the city stated it wasn’t negligent.

“This argument does not deny responsibility, it merely states that the city was not negligent in their response but does not deny responsibility,” Christy said. “They now are saying the movement is due to the dry conditions of the last few years but they completely ignore the explosions (water main bursts).”

Christy said the movement of the house corresponded within two days of the third water main break.

“So that argument falls a bit flat,” he said.

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