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CLASS ACTION SUIT Lawyers seek data from flood in 2003



Published: Sat, June 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The lawyers wants records of property owners and police calls involving flooding.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- Detroit attorneys who conducted meetings last year with Boardman residents about a class action lawsuit to address flooding have requested information about city residents who experienced the same problem.

Charles Tieche, city manager, said he received a public records/Freedom of Information Act request pertaining to flooding in the city in July and August 2003.

The letter is from Macuga & amp; Liddle, a Detroit law firm.

"We are investigating flooding [that] occurred in your area between July 9 and August 10, 2003," it says.

The letter requests data or hard copies of lists of property owners who suffered flooding, police logs reporting any contacts with property owners who suffered flooding and public works department records reporting contacts with property owners who had flooding.

Tieche said the city is compiling the requested information. Like in many other parts of the Mahoning Valley, residents in some parts of the city were affected by flooded basements and streets during the heavy rains that deluged the area in the summer of 2003, the city manager said.

The city is working to address some of those problems, he said.

Previous action

Representatives of the same firm met in early 2004 with more than 200 Boardman residents about flooding. That firm also is involved with a class action lawsuit in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court regarding a rotten egg odor emanating from a Warren Township landfill. Residents near the facility are the plaintiffs, and the city of Warren is one of the defendants.

In April, more than 100 residents, mostly from Boardman, filed a class action suit against Boardman, Mahoning County commissioners, the Mahoning County sanitary engineer, the Mahoning County engineer and the city of Youngstown charging government negligence.

That lawsuit was filed by local Attys. Michael P. Marando and William Pfau, who were retained by the Detroit firm.

It said the governments and their representatives were negligent in ensuring that water nuisances that have caused flooding and sewage backups in private property and businesses for years were not properly resolved.

The suit against Boardman arises from sanitary sewage backups during July, August and September 2003, and on other occasions before or after those dates.

The suit says the defendants knew or should have known the defects and deficiencies of the sewer system, and that they had a duty to properly design a "combined sanitary sewer water and storm water sewage system, which would promote the health, safety and welfare of the plaintiffs."

It also wants a court to order the governments and their representatives to adopt an emergency action plan by using taxpayer funds in the affected districts.




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