Ruth set to hear motion to compel in homeowner's suit against Edwardsville over basement flooding

Amelia Flood Jul. 8, 2011, 8:44am


Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth is set to hear a motion to compel filed by an Edwardsville homeowner against the city over a backed up sewer incident next week.

Ruth will hear the motion to compel filed by plaintiffs Sandy and Rodney Wolter at 9 a.m. on July 15.

The Wolters are suing the City of Edwardsville for damages in excess of $400,000 and other relief.

The couple claims that raw sewage backed up into the basement of their Edwardsville home in September 2009 causing the plaintiffs to incur cleaning costs, annoyance and discomfort.

The plaintiffs claim that the city did nothing to remedy the situation even though it was aware the sewer line that served the couple's home was prone to problems.

The couple filed a motion to compel the inspection of real estate June 16.

In that motion, the Wolters claim that Edwardsville refused to allow them to access two manholes for inspection and video camera inspection of the holes and the adjacent sewer lines when asked in May.

The couple alleges that their attorney has made efforts to resolve the matter to no avail.

They ask Ruth to order the city to allow the inspection.

In its July 7 response to the motion to compel, Edwardsville contends it has provided video of the sanitary sewer lines at issue taken ton two different dates.

It also alleges it provided survey results showing elevations to the plaintiffs and that photos of the manholes were also given to the plaintiffs.

The city argues that the plaintiffs' request that their plumbing expert, Terry Spengler, be allowed to take video of the manholes and sewer lines isn't justified.

"Plaintiffs have not set forth any reason why this needs to be done after plaintiffs' attorney, their witness plumber and even their expert engineer have already viewed the manholes on at least three occasions now," the response reads.

"More importantly, plaintiffs' attorney has not set forth the qualifications his plumbing expert has to inspect a manhole or to view and inspect the sanitary main lines of the city. In fact, a local plumber would not be allowed to have access to manholes or main sewer lines because local plumbers are not qualified to work with either manholes or main sanitary sewer lines. No one would be allowed access to manholes or sanitary lines unless properly qualified by the City of Edwardsville because of safety and liability issues...Plaintiffs' attorney request is for nothing more than a fishing expedition."

The city goes on to ask Ruth to deny the motion to compel.

Hrant Norsigian represents the Wolters.

Christine McClimans represents Edwardsville.

The case formerly assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara
Crowder who bowed out of the suit.

The case is Madison case number 09-L-203.

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