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Saturday, September 21, 2019

City of O'Fallon coutersues residents over sewer pipe dispute; Says residents owed duty to maintain property

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jan 31, 2017

The City of O’Fallon filed a counter-complaint against several residents in a suit alleging it failed to repair a storm sewer pipe between their properties, arguing the property owners owed a duty to maintain their own property.

Ronald and Teresa Mussatto and Lonny Nichols filed their complaint against the City of O’Fallon on Sept. 28.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs alleges that on Dec. 28, 2015, a slope between their properties failed, causing damage to their properties. They claim the slope is located in the area encompassing the storm sewer pipe.

They allege the defendant failed to properly compact the fill materials utilized in connection with the storm sewer pipe, failed to properly strip and bench the area and negligently located the pipe in an unstable area.

The City of O’Fallon answered the complaint on Nov. 18 through attorney Brian Funk of O’Halloran Kosoff Geitner & Cook LLC in Northbrook. It argues that it did not have a duty to maintain the properties, easement or storm water pipe.

The defendant alleges the plaintiffs had a duty to maintain their own properties and the easement between their properties.

It also alleges the plaintiffs negligently failed to maintain their property that would prevent a slope failure, failed to stabilize the slope on their property after the 2008 slope failure, failed to stabilize the slope after the 2015 slope failure and drained and discharged water from their homes onto the slope.

The City of O’Fallon further argues that to the extent it has a duty to maintain, it did not have notice of any unreasonably safe condition.

The defendant filed a counter-complaint against the plaintiffs, arguing that it did not cause the slope failure on the plaintiffs’ properties.

It also argues that the plaintiffs filed suit “solely because they are not willing to pay to remedy the slope failure on their properties and believe they are foreclosed from bringing claims against the Developer.”

The plaintiffs answered the counter-complaint on Dec. 19 through attorney B. Jay Dowling of Clayborne Sabo and Wagner LLP in Belleville. They deny liability.

The plaintiffs also filed a reply to the defendant’s affirmative defenses on Dec. 19. They admitted that they had a respective duty to maintain their respective property, except the easement area. They deny all other liability.

A status conference is set for May 1 at 9 a.m.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-511

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St. Clair County Circuit Court