City of Davenport Off Hook for Homeowners’ Sewer Backup Claims

April 20, 2015

A jury has sided with the city of Davenport and two of its officials in a negligence lawsuit brought against them after residents complained of sewer backups in 2013.

The Scott County jury reached its verdict Friday, finding the city, Mayor Bill Gluba and Public Works Director Mike Clarke not negligent, The Quad-City Times reported.

A lawsuit accused them of negligence in failing to properly maintain the city’s main sewer system, despite years of complaints. Homeowners had sought compensation for damage from two major rainfalls in April and May of 2013.

Mike Baker said raw sewage up to his knees required him to replace carpet and furniture in his basement at a cost of $22,000.

The city has a no-fault sewer backup reimbursement program. The reimbursement limit is $7,500 per building, per year for all costs and damages. The plaintiffs could be eligible for that reimbursement.

“We have a convenient program that any homeowner can avail themselves of,” City Administrator Craig Malin said after the verdict.

Defense attorney Rand Wonio said he was pleased the jury opted against awarded damages to the homeowners.

The homeowners’ attorney, Mike Meloy, said he still believes the city was negligent.

“We will be meeting with our clients to discuss all legal options,” Meloy said.

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