Flood victims consider suing state, county and South Bend

 Associated Press
September 9, 2016
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Flood victims in the South Bend area are considering filing a lawsuit against the state, county and city.

The South Bend Tribune reports that Edward and Wanda Walton have served the Indiana Department of Transportation, St. Joseph County and the city of South Bend with a "notice of tort claim." The action is legally required step before a person can sue a body of government in Indiana.

The Waltons lost their home and most of its contents during record rainfall Aug. 15.

The notice says residents suffered from the flood because of the governmental entities' negligence in controlling the increased runoff from the recently completed U.S. 31 project.

The notice indicates that their attorney, Charles Rice, might seek class action certification from a judge if he files a lawsuit.

"We are investigating this and served the tort claims notice on the state, county and city," Rice said.

Rice has sent the county a request for public records that includes records related to the Phillips Ditch, a county-maintained drainage ditch that crosses U.S. 31 and runs northwest through the neighborhood, along with records pertaining to surface water runoff into the ditch and impact of the state's realignment project.

In an email to the newspaper, Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Doug Moats said "it's been documented that the area in southern South Bend, in the region of the new U.S. 31 corridor, has had high water issues for many years when there is a substantial rainfall. This has been occurring since before the new U.S. 31 was constructed."

Moats said they sympathize with everyone who was affected by the flooding and that they are "communicating with St. Joseph County to investigate whether cooperation on this matter could help."


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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....