Kansas Couple Awarded $202K Over Dam Problem

July 26, 2013

A Hutchinson, Kansas, couple who bought a home without being told they would be responsible for maintaining a dam on the property has been awarded $202,500 in a lawsuit they filed against their real estate agent and a realty company.

When Jerry and Georgia McGonigle bought the home in 2008, they also were not told the home’s previous owner had received complaints about the condition of the dam, which at the time was part of Hutchinson’s flood control program. After they discovered their liability, bids to repair the dam reached seven figures, The Hutchinson News reported.

The $202,500 awarded to the couple on Monday is for removal of trees that weaken the dam. The McGonigles settled a lawsuit against the home’s previous owner for an undisclosed sum.

U.S. District Judge Monti Belot also ruled on Monday that the couple could submit a motion to have their attorney fees covered.

There was no dispute that the McGonigles weren’t told before they bought the house about a document at Hutchinson City Hall and at the Reno County Courthouse that made them responsible for maintaining the dam on the property in northeast Hutchinson. The previous owner said he told his real estate agent about the agreement. That agent testified that she told the McGonigle’s real estate agent about the agreement but that agent said she didn’t recall the disclosure.

The dam agreement also wasn’t included in the title work.

After litigation began, the city of Hutchinson abandoned the dam agreement and was not part of the case.

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