The Richmond Register

July 21, 2013

Property owner files suit against Richmond over water damage

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — The early August storm last year that dumped 3 inches of water on Richmond has led to a resident  filing suit against the city claiming the inadequate storm drainage system caused damage to her property.

Lucy Hammons filed the civil lawsuit July 8 in Madison Circuit Court. She claims the city’s negligence and poor construction of drainage structures caused water damage to her property at 306 University Drive.

The lawsuit specifically refers to the two-hour downpour Aug. 3 but also states other instances of rainfall has caused damage to the home.

In a period of two hours, 3 inches of rainfall caused areas around Richmond to flood. Areas of South Second Street, Water Street, West Main Street, Boggs Lane, Big Hill Avenue and Irvine Road at the Bypass intersection became impassable.

Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes said that the flooding was caused by several factors, including the recent drought that had hardened the ground and limited how fast the rainfall could be absorbed.

Since Aug. 3, the city has completed a storm-drainage project to install a 30-inch culvert from Sunset Avenue across Tates Creek Avenue.

Another project, installing an extra-large culvert from Water Street under Main Street and on to Dreaming Creek, is supposed to currently be under construction but has been stalled by a need for more grant funds.

A city official said the mayor, engineers and other people associated with the Water Street drainage project will be having a meeting next week to review its status.

Hammons’ lawsuit claims that the city has “negligently caused unnatural volumes of water” to flow onto and  across Hammons’ property in “unnatural places at unnatural rates.”

Hammons states the current drainage facility near her property is inadequate to carry off ordinary and heavy rainfalls that may be expected in Richmond.

Hammons also claims she has suffered a loss in rental income since she rents out “sleeping rooms” in the basement of the home. The complaint says she has received no compensation from the city for the loss in income or damage to the property.

The city of Richmond has not yet responded to Hammons’ complaint.

Hammons is represented by Walter G. Ecton Jr. of Richmond, and the case has been assigned to Madison Circuit Judge William G. Clouse.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.