Wood River home owner sues city over raw sewage back-up

Kelly Holleran May 5, 2010, 4:19am

A Wood River man has filed suit against the city, alleging raw sewage backed into his home, causing him to endure discomfort and annoyance.

Jeremy Higgins, who lives at 677 Maurice, claims an April 30, 2009, rainstorm caused his home to be flooded due to the back up of sewer lines operated and maintained by Wood River.

"Plaintiff complained to the City of Wood River regarding the back-up of raw sewage into his home from the City of Wood River's sewer systems," the suit filed April 27 in Madison County Circuit Court states. "The City of Wood River took no action of any kind to prevent said occurrence from happening again in the future."

Because of the flooding, Higgins claims he incurred necessary expenses for the cleaning and sanitation of his property and for repairs, replacements and improvements to his property; suffered damage to his personal property, which had a great deal of sentimental value; and suffered depreciation of the market price of his home. In addition, he has been denied the comfortable and enjoyable use of his property, according to the complaint.

He blames Wood River for causing the damages to his home, saying the city negligently failed to operate the sewer system in a safe manner when it knew of the possibility of residential sewer back-up, failed to adequately inspect the sewer system, failed to refurbish the sewer system, failed to adequately design and construct the sewer system in a safe and reasonable manner, failed to respond to Higgins' complaints in a timely manner and failed to comply with Illinois EPA recommended standards in that the sewer system had insufficient storage capacity for emergency situations.

In his three-count complaint, Higgins is seeking a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

He will be represented by Joseph N. Reames of the Law Office of Joseph N. Reames in Wood River.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-464.

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