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Would like your opinion - Sewer Related

Posted by M Francis on October 31st, 2002 09:34 PM

We sold our home in April of 98. The new owner decided to build a sports court, thus, major excavation occurred. Her contractor built a retaining wall directly over a the sewer lateral cleanout. (It was not obvious and he did not have the utilities staked) Four years later we are being threaten to be sued. The attorney claims our sewer later had a defect in the cleanout and/or had an alreadly cracked sewer lateral/cleanout, if this is true, we had no problems for the 14 years we lived at the home. We are hoping to defend ourselves.... so could you read the attorney's letter and give me any thoughts you might have? Thank you so much, M Francis

"It is quite easy to explain why your clients did not experience sewer backup problems, why my client did, and why this is all due to your clients' previous activities."...The lateral from the home to the main sewer line has remained from the construction of the home to the present in good shape. However, the clean out line has been missing, leaving a hole in the lateral. In order to pass inspection, the home had to have a clean out line on the lateral at the time it was constructed. We know there was excavation and fill work done by the Francis' on the property. However, during the time Ms. Burr was having her retaining walls built and then rebuilt, the area where the lateral was located was never reached by her contractors. Nevertheless, directly due to the lack of the clean out, which left a hole in the lateral, as the upper retaining wall was built, a certain amount of material would have gone into the lateral, causing a blockage, and thus forcing the sewer or at least part of the effluent to come out into the soil. This is clearly the moisture problem that was being experienced by Ms. Burr, which caused the initial retaining wall to deteriorate quickly. Thereafter, when the new retaining wall was built in place of the old one (and again without reaching the lateral), the additional activity caused more material to go into the lateral, thus causing it to virtually block off all together which then lead to the sewer backup. In short, your clients created the problem but did not experience the consequences of the sewer backup. The neighbors who were eyewitness to the activities of the Francis' know that the Francis' excavated all the way around the house to secure it in some fashion. They not only backfilled but also placed a substantial amount of additional material in the back part of the property. These activities caused the clean out to be removed and caused the damage of which we have complained. We therefore, believe that Ms. B's claims are appropriate and we intend on pursing them vigorously unless the Francis' are prepared to resolve this matter without the necessity of litigation. Sincerely, Mr. R

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