O'Fallon homeowners sue city over raw sewage back up

Kelly Holleran Oct. 7, 2009, 3:40am

A St. Clair County couple has filed suit against the city of O'Fallon, alleging the city is responsible for the backed up and raw sewage that flowed into their home.

Douglas and Tamara Morton claim the raw sewage backflowed through O'Fallon's sewer system and into their basement on March 31.

"The raw sewage in Plaintiffs' basement caused the basement to be filled with excrement, human waste, toilet paper and other waste materials and filth, caused noxious odors that caused Plaintiffs to be unable to use their basement, has created a hazardous condition in Plaintiffs' home, and has caused Plaintiffs to suffer sickness and personal injuries," the suit states.

Before the incident occurred, the city was aware that roots had infiltrated the sewer line that service the Mortons' home, according to the complaint filed Sept. 28 in St. Clair County Circuit Court. In fact, the sewer line had become clogged in April 2005 because of root infiltration, the suit states.

"Defendant was notified of several sewer backups on Fountainbleu, including sewer back up into Plaintiff's home," the complaint says. "Defendant's investigation into the sewer back ups revealed that they were caused by root infiltration."

Because of the sewer problems, the Mortons claim they have endured discomfort and annoyance, have incurred costs for the cleaning and sanitization of their property and have spent money on necessary remediation of their property. In addition, they incurred repair, replacement and improvement costs, suffered damages to great sentimental pieces, suffered a depreciation in the value of their home, been denied the comfortable use of their home and suffered personal injuries.

The couple blames O'Fallon for failing to operate the sewer system in a safe manner, for failing to inspect the sewer system, for failing to repair the sewer system, for failing to adequately design the sewer system and for failing to respond to the Mortons' complaints in a timely manner.

In the four-count suit, the Mortons are seeking a judgment of more than $200,000, plus other relief the court deems just.

Hrant "Hud" Norsigian Jr. of Norsigian Law Office in O'Fallon will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-510.

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