City of Collinsville seeks to dismiss sewer system suit

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Feb 24, 2015


The City of Collinsville seeks to dismiss a homeowner's suit alleging the sewer system backed up for the third time in 20 years.

According to Mary Joy Springer’s Sept. 12 lawsuit, she alleges the sewer backed up into the basement of her house on Holloway Court on April 29, 2014. She claims it was the third time since 1995 that the sewer overflowed into the basement. The homeowner alleges the city was aware of the flooding problems and of the inadequate pumps at the sewer’s lift station.

Springer accuses Collinsville of negligence for allegedly failing to properly install and maintain the sewer system. She is also suing the city for violating the state’s Environmental Protection Act for allowing the sewer to spill into her basement.

The City of Collinsville filed a motion to dismiss or strike Counts I (negligence), II (temporary nuisance)  and III (trespass) on Dec. 12, claiming they are “substantially insufficient in law.”

“Counts I, II and III do not allege facts sufficient to bring a claim within a legally recognized cause of action for negligence, temporary nuisance or trespass, but instead assert conclusions of the pleader regarding the City’s sewer system,” the motion states.

The defendant argues that Springer failed to allege specific facts identifying a condition of the City’s property that was not reasonably safe, causing her alleged damages.

“Instead, the plaintiffs assert general conclusions of the pleader that the sewer system has not been operated, maintained, inspected, refurbished, adequately designed and constructed, equipped and located in an appropriate area, flooding problems adjacent to a lift station were not properly managed or remedied, and when the lift station malfunctioned plaintiff was not notified,” the motion states.

Furthermore, the defendant argues that Springer failed to allege facts showing the City deprived her of the “exclusive possession of her land” in her trespass claim.

The defendant also claims it is entitled immunity under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, making dismissal proper.

Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder scheduled a motion hearing for March 19 at 9 a.m. addressing the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Springer seeks more than $150,000 in damages, plus court costs.

David L. Antognoli of Edwardsville represents the plaintiff.

James C. Cook of Walker and Williams, P.C., in Belleville represents the City of Collinsville. The defendant requests a jury trial.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 14-L-1256

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