Alaska City Faces Another Suit Related to 2015 Landslide

January 27, 2017

The city of Sitka, Alaska, has been added as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by a woman whose home was destroyed in a deadly landslide.

Christine McGraw filed the lawsuit against Sound Development LLC, the company she purchased her property from a year before the Aug. 18, 2015, landslide, the Sitka Sentinel reported Wednesday.

A judge granted a request from the development company Monday to make the City and Borough of Sitka a third-party defendant in the lawsuit. McG Constructors, the contractor for McGraw’s building, was also added as a defendant.

The 2016 lawsuit alleges Sound Development was aware of the potential hazards of developing a subdivision in the landslide area but didn’t inform potential buyers of the condition of the land. McGraw claims the company is at fault for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and negligence.

Sound Development has denied responsibility for the woman’s property damage.

Superior Court Judge David George’s ruling this week allows the company as a “third-party plaintiff” to sue the city and McG Contractors for the wrongdoing McGraw alleges has taken place.

Sound Development filed its own complaint saying the third-party defendants “engaged in intentional, reckless or negligent conduct that caused (McGraw’s) alleged damages, either in whole or in part.” The company is asking that “fault be allocated to the third-party defendants in accord with the findings of the jury.”

The landslide above Kramer Avenue on Harbor Mountain left three people dead and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage.

Both Sound Development and the City and Borough of Sitka have been named as defendants in two other lawsuits filed in connection with the landslide, which was one of four major slides that occurred in the city that day.

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