WINFIELD – Claiming she has literally taken crap from a Putnam County municipality for the past 25 years, a resident is demanding some compensation.

The town of Poca is named as a defendant in a destruction of property lawsuit filed by Barbara Gale Rhodes. In her complaint filed April 1 in Putnam Circuit Court, Rhodes alleges leaks from a sewer line near her home have rendered it useless.

According to her suit, Rhodes and her then-husband, Gartlet T. Rhodes, Jr., bought the property from Don E. and Elise Angel on May 22, 1978. Rhodes became the owner outright on Aug. 30 when Gartlet conveyed his half-interest.

Seven years after they bought the property, the Rhodeses conveyed an easement to the town for construction of a sewer line. However, Rhodes says the sewer line was constructed “at variance with the legal description” in the deed “which constitutes a continuing trespass.”

According to her suit, the town prepared a document on Nov. 10, 1987, to correct the variance. However, since neither she nor Gartlet signed it and it was never recorded, Rhodes maintains it has no legal effect.

Leaks from the sewer line since its construction, Rhodes says, have made the foundation of her home unstable. To help alleviate the problem, the town has agreed to relocate the line between her home and Poca River, she says.

However, she believes the totality of the leaks over the years coupled with repair work have placed her home in jeopardy for collapse. Though she does not provide details, Rhodes maintains “the cost of the proper repair to [her] property far exceeds its value and is, therefore, a total loss.”

The damage to her home, Rhodes says, has caused her “inconvenience and emotional and mental distress.” As a result, she’s asking the town be ordered to either pay her an amount to help her relocate or purchase the property at its fair market value.

She is represented by Sissonville attorney Walton S. Shepherd. The case is assigned to Judge Phillip M. Stowers.

Putnam Circuit Court case number 13-C-90

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