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Sunday, May 1, 2016

City faces possible lawsuit

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

* Family displaced following backup of sewage into home

A Brazil family displaced by raw sewage overflowing into their home in February is in the process of filing a civil lawsuit for damages and cleanup against the City of Brazil.

According to attorney James McDonald, Terre Haute, Cindy and Richard McDonald, and their children, reside at 1106 East Northwood Drive, Brazil. They have not been able to live in their home since the incident occurred Feb. 21. The family has resided with another family member since the incident.

According to the McDonald's, the toilet in their home began overflowing, gushing into the living room area of the home. Although the family attempted to shut off the water to stop the raw sewage from flooding several rooms in the house, it did not work.

A rough estimate of the property damages to the home is approximately $37,500.

The McDonald family also said they then contacted the city and the mayor's office about the problem and were informed city personnel were working in the area at the time of the incident.

According to the McDonald family, there has never been any type of problem like this before, even during the extensive flooding in the summer of 2008.

"It's my understanding the city applied forced pressure to the sewer main, that in turn caused raw sewage to back up into the (McDonald) home," James McDonald (who is not related to the family) recently told The Brazil Times about the messy situation. "The mayor (Ann Bradshaw) came to their home and admitted the city was at fault."

The McDonald family said the city worked with ServPro to help resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, the home remains uninhabitable due to excessive mold.

The attorney told The Brazil Times the city's insurance company has denied liability, claiming the damages were caused by excessive rain.

"They can't live in their home. Obviously, it's a great inconvenience to them," the attorney said.

McDonald confirmed the paperwork for the lawsuit on Monday.

According to officials at the Clay County Courthouse, the paperwork had yet to arrive and be processed as of Tuesday evening.

Due to the pending nature of possible litigation, Brazil City officials were unable to comment on the matter.

Messages were left with official from Traveler's Insurance, the City of Brazil's insurance provider, Tuesday.

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#1 stament made by Mayor is this: "The mayor (Ann Bradshaw) came to their home and admitted the city was at fault."

#2 the city's insurance company has denied liability, claiming the damages were caused by excessive rain.

Shouldn't the Mayor and the City insurance company be on the same page with this matter. Seems as if they should just tear it down and build a new home. Mold can be very dangerous and the city should know this and do everything they can to help these people not tell them one thing then turn around and tell them sorry but.........

Wasn't the rain in 2008 a little more excessive than we have had this last couple months. Come on who is trying a COVER UP now??? Hope they win the Lawsuit. Sounds like someone needs to do something in the situation.

-- Posted by MS440 on Tue, Mar 22, 2011, at 10:13 PM

With Jim McDonald as their lawyer, I have little doubt they WILL win this suit. Jim is a good friend and a great attorney (IMO). I believe this family deserves restitution for their loss.

I would think (sans law degree), that the city would have to prove the sewer problem was due to 'heavy rain', or (as the McDonald's stated) this hasn't happened before with heavy rain.

I've experienced a water line break (summer) in a vacant house I owned. Someone happened to be driving by, saw the FOR RENT sign and water 'gushing' from under the house and called me. I immediately shut the water off.

I wondered then why the utilities office didn't have a computer program that would list accounts that had an enormous bill (mine was over $700) instead of the customary $30 charge - when the meters were read each month. (I chuckled when I came to my senses and realized that if this office doesn't even offer online bill pay, my suggestion would be over their heads.)

One would think that the person who checks the water consumption would recognize 50,000 gallons used (or whatever it was) on a vacant house (no pool) would be extreme. And yet.

The utilities office reluctantly reduced my bill with a warning "once is our courtesy to you .. if it happens again, you'll have to PROVE it was our fault and pay our tech to come out and service the account".

I not only hope this family is given full restitution for their property loss, but also compensation for being forced to live with family.

Shake the house, Jim!!

-- Posted by Emmes on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 10:58 AM

please notice the insurance company made the comment about it being rain damage.

-- Posted by Tracy Jones on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 2:31 PM

I just find it difficult to believe that they had this much damage and the mold is excessive and they have hired an attorney in less than a month. The mayor now makes house call and makes the determination that it is the city's fault. HMMM! I have been to see her twice and could not get past the secretary, and emailing wielded no response either. The rain was heavy ina short amount of time and if you had damage from the flood in 08 that was not covered, this would of been a good time to make claims,and to think that this damage occured because of an overflowed toilet. I have a family member whose toilet also overflowed during this period and it backed up into her basement, she was told to buy a sump pump and clean it up herself, since it was on her property, maybe she will have a claim too.

-- Posted by brazilgal on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 3:23 PM

BRAZILGAL: I am going to attach a link at the end of this email if after watching this video you would like to make a retraction we most certainly would love to hear this!

The city was placing pressure on a line in the neighborhood and forced POO into our home. The mayor herself claimed responsibility. As far as you not getting past the secretary, guess you don't know the right people! Or possibly did not act in a manner in witch you would be allowed into the office. See The mayor is doing her best to help but has come to a road block in her ability. Therefore, we must seek alternate methods of having the home that we live in return to the way it was when we purchased it.

There was NOT have damage in 08 if you would please re-read the story you will notice that the insurance (Travelers the insurance company of the CITY OF BRAZIL) is claiming that the damage is due to a surge in water. If that were the case then the 2 inches that was received on February 21st would have not made an impact having NO damage from the flood in 2008.

Furthermore, raw sewage if left untreated for a total of 48 hours will grow mold. This was left untreated for two weeks due to the City dragging their feet not paying for Servepro to do their job and being able to treat the home properly.

If you would like any more information please feel free to contact me or even stop by I have no one else that has volunteered to help clean up. I have several pair of rubber gloves as well as a few extra respirators if you are concerned about your lungs I know we are!!!!!


-- Posted by Nikki_Matthews on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 4:19 PM

I smell a poo poo!

-- Posted by WickedSpring64 on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 8:38 PM

I feel for you guys I can't imagine having a house ruined in that manner.

-- Posted by WickedSpring64 on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 8:39 PM

I'm at a loss as to why anyone would apply "forced pressure" to a main sewer line knowing that there is no possible way to block lines that connect to it. If your tub drain stops up and you did that, you would either force water into the bathroom sink or the pressure would escape through the vent pipe. On a "main sewer line" if the blockage doesn't move and there is nowhere for the pressure to go, it will ALWAYS cause back flow. There's no one-way check valve in such a system, that I know of,as there is one the water supply line. Why wasn't the sewer "snaked" or even dug up and the blockage cleared by mechanical means?

Sounds to me like someone got in a hurry, tried to avoid a messy job, or had a not-so-bright idea and got the City in a mess.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 11:54 PM

This is terrible, I hope the mayor helps these poor people out. Surely she is doing all she can to help these citizens, as that is her primary job. I can't even imagine being forced out of my home by a tragedy such as this. It would be one thing if this was a natural disaster, but to be obviously at fault. The insurance company should be ashamed of themselves! From what I hear this is a problem that is much more widespread than one house. Maybe this is why the insurance company is putting up such a fight. The city has such terrible drainage and septic systems. Maybe this will lead to more people stepping up to fight back. This has been a long time coming. We have put bandaids on these problems for too long! STAY STRONG!!!! WE ARE ALL BEHIND YOU!

-- Posted by Concerned_Mom2010 on Fri, Mar 25, 2011, at 12:02 PM

Thanks for the video link .. I stand by my original comment. The mayor signed a contract to submit the claim to the city's insurance adjuster .. Traveler's needs to pay the claim.

Mrs. McDonald is right .. she's not "asking for a Mercedes to replace a Volkswagen".

Best of luck to the McDonald's.

-- Posted by Emmes on Sat, Mar 26, 2011, at 3:44 AM

Thank you for all your support. This will be a long battle I'm sure. Definatley will be staying strong and not giving up!

-- Posted by Nikki_Matthews on Sat, Mar 26, 2011, at 11:39 AM

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