ILNews

Agreement doesn’t preclude subsequent lawsuit for water damage

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

A release agreement a Warrick County couple signed in 2002 regarding water issues in their home resulting from county work that disconnected downspout lines from the home does not preclude the couple from suing the city after discovering water damage to their home in 2007, the Court of Appeals held.

William and Stacy Hill found a significant amount of standing water in the crawl space under their home in 2002 after Warrick County performed drainage work in a ditch adjacent to the Hills’ home. The ditch was filled, eliminating it. In the process, downspout lines that had previously drained the Hills’ home’s roof gutters into the ditch were disconnected.

The couple signed an agreement and release with the county after it paid a contractor’s bill. But the Hills continued to have problems with accumulating water and, in 2007, discovered that their home had structural problems attributable to high moisture conditions in the foundation soil. An engineering firm submitted a report that the foundational problems were due to the elimination of the ditch.

In December 2007, the Hills filed a notice of tort claim. They filed their lawsuit in November 2008 against the county and Cincinnati Insurance Co. for damages. The county sought summary judgment, which was denied. The Court of Appeals affirmed on interlocutory appeal.

The release agreement the Hills signed did not preclude their 2008 lawsuit because the language of the agreement didn’t mention an elevated water table or connect the known blockage problems with structural damages to the home, wrote Judge Cale Bradford. The judges rejected the county’s claim that “other damages” and “interference with drainage from the home” shows that the structure problems now at issue were an understood term in the release agreement.

The Court of Appeals found the Hills filed their tort claim notice within the six-year statute of limitations on actions for injury to property other than personal property, and complied with the Indiana Tort Claims Act. The structural problems discovered in 2007 weren’t known in 2002, the judges held, and are distinguishable from the original issue of disconnected downspouts.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

ADVERTISEMENT