Neighbor's upstream modifications caused erosion for plaintiff

Kelly Holleran Apr. 21, 2010, 8:26am

A Belleville man claims he has been forced to make changes to his property because of erosion caused by a neighbor's stream modifications.

Paul Wagner filed a lawsuit April 13 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Warren and Joan McIntyre.

Wagner claims he resides at 4249 Woodfield Place in Belleville, a property which sits adjacent to a creek. The McIntyres also own property adjacent to the same creek, and their property lies upstream from Wagner's, according to the complaint.

In 2006, the McIntyres began to make changes to their property, including modifications to its grade and the character of the stream, the suit states.

"The defendants further modified said stream and the immediate adjacent property, thereby causing substantial erosion, silting and a change in the water table of said stream," the complaint says. "That as a direct result of the defendants' negligent conduct, the stream adjacent to plaintiff's property has increased in flow and silt and has resulted in a wrongful diversion of water onto plaintiff's property, which has caused erosion and other damages to plaintiff's property."

Because of the McIntyres' actions, Wagner's property has become filled with excessive silt, and Wagner claims he may have to incur costs to rid his land of it.

In his three-count suit, Wagner is seeking a judgment in excess of $150,000, plus costs. He also wants the court to issue him injunctive relief requiring the McIntyres to modify their property to stop or decrease the amount of excessive silting and to repair all damages by removing all silt from the stream.

He will be represented by James R. Williams of Williams, Caponi, Foley and Eckert in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-170.

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