Nebraska Homeowners Get New Shot at Sewage Lawsuit

By MARGERY A. BECK | April 5, 2012

Residents who blamed the Nebraska city of Columbus for 2004 sewer backups that damaged their homes will get a new shot at suing the city.

In an opinion released Tuesday, the Nebraska Court of Appeal partly reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the 2005 lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by James and Jamie Henderson and included 15 other homeowners as plaintiffs who sought a total of more than $125,000 in damages. They claimed a city worker who restarted pumps at a sewage lift station during a downpour caused the sewage backup that flooded their basements with raw sewage.

The appeals court reversed the lower court’s dismissal based on “inverse condemnation,” a legal term in which a government takes or damages private property without paying just compensation.

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