At its October 18, 2016 meeting, the City Council accepted a settlement offer from the Shaffer, Behncke and Elmore families as compensation for damages to the home at 288 Morton Street resulting from a sewer backup in October 2015.
The City has been trying over the past eleven months to reach accord with the property owners on appropriate compensation for the incident. A stray brick in the sewer line caused the backup; how the brick got there cannot be conclusively determined. The result, however, is clear: the property owners suffered major personal disruption and financial hardship. State law and the City’s Charter place a cap (the “Tort Claims Limit”) on how much the City can pay as compensation for alleged negligence.
Without any attribution of fault, the City and the property owners have agreed to a settlement of $341,000. “As with most settlements, it is a compromise that is less than fully satisfying, but it avoids the costs, risks and rancor of a trial,” said City Attorney David Lohman.
The bulk of the settlement will be paid by the City’s insurer, with the remainder to be taken from the wastewater fund.
The City’s legal department is working with the property owners’ attorney to work out the final wording for the settlement and payment arrangements.