St. Albans pays $28,500 to settle storm drain lawsuit

By Lawrence Smith | May 27, 2013

CHARLESTON - A St. Albans couple have settled their lawsuit against the city alleging a clogged storm drain damaged both their home and cars.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman on April 5 dismissed Elizabeth and Gary Hager’s suit against the city and the St. Albans Municipal Utility Commission. The dismissal came after the sides announced they reached a settlement on March 20.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed in court records.

However, in response to a Freedom of Information Act submitted by The West Virginia Record, the city disclosed though its insurance carriers, National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh and AIG, it agreed to pay the Hagers $28,500.

Also, the settlement stipulated that while the settlement in no way impacts future maintenance of its storm water system, the city agreed sometime in the next 60 days to discuss with the Hagers any “reasonable maintenance and or upgrades” on the drains near their home on 818 Monmouth St.

According to their suit filed two years ago, the Hagers suffered property damage three times in the course of a year as a result of the malfunctioning drains. The first two came on May 4 and May 25 in 2009, when a storm drain backup flooded their basement, they say.

The third came on July 21, 2010, when heavy rain caused the drains to back up and partially submerged their 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix and 2005 Chevy Equinox, they say. In the suit, the Hagers averred the cars were deemed total losses.

They were represented by Charleston attorneys Harry F. Bell and Jonathan Price. The City and SAMUC were defended by Charleston attorney Duane Ruggier II.

Kanawha Circuit Court, case number 11-C-712

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