WHEELING – Two new lawsuits have been filed claiming construction spearheaded by the Marshall County Sewerage District created property issues.
James Blazier filed his lawsuit June 24 in Ohio Circuit Court against the district. Gary and Lauralee Wiechman filed their complaint the same day in Marshall Circuit Court. The district includes property in both Ohio and Marshall counties.
In Blazier’s complaint, he says the district began work in his neighborhood in September 2017 on a new sewage system. It included laying pipe and installing pump stations throughout the neighborhood. Mike Enyart & Sons Inc. was the main contractor, and E.L. Robinson designed the system.
Blazier claims E.L. Robinson did not conduct a property survey before drafting the plans.
“Plaintiff spoke to an equipment operator of defendants who informed plaintiff originally, the sewer line was slated to follow an existing logging pathway but that at the last minute, engineers decided to move the line further up on the hill side to create fall,” the complaint states. “During construction, defendants removed several trees from the hill side, including the root system, for the path of the sewer line.
“In February of 2018, the hillside where the sewer line is constructed, which is adjacent to plaintiff’s house, experienced slippage and has slid away from plaintiff’s house. As a result of the slippage, the plaintiff’s deck was no longer level. Multiple deck posts no longer touched the ground.”
Blazier says he spoke to a project manager with Mike Enyart & Sons, who said “he was afraid of this.” A crew for the company jacked up Blazier’s deck, dug holes and poured concrete supports to level out the deck.
A few months later, Blazier says the deck again wasn’t level because the hillside continued to slip. This caused the concrete supports to slip further and not support the deck. In addition, he says dirt underneath a concrete patio had slid, causing the slab to break and pull away from his house.
Blazier says an employee of E.L. Robinson surveyed the damage and asked him why he “had removed so many trees from the hillside.” Blazier told him workers who installed the sewer line did it.
“In an effort to mitigate his damages, plaintiff hired a contractor who was currently building a front porch onto his house, to evaluate the deck on the back of the house in order to prevent further damage,” the complaint states. Blazier says the sewer district promised to send help and supplies, but did little of either. He says he, his son and his contractor did most of the work. He provided a bill, but he says he was accused of inflating the bill.
He accuses the sewer district of five counts of breach of contract. He seeks compensatory damages for economic loss, including damages to his property, the taking of his property, and lowering of his property value as well as compensatory damages for mental anguish, annoyance, and inconvenience. He also seeks attorney fees and court costs.
In the Wiechmans’ complaint, they say the sewer district also began work on a new sewage system in their neighborhood in September 2017 with Mike Enyart & Sons Inc. and E.L. Robinson doing the same work.
The couple gave the defendant permission to use their driveway to provide access for excavating equipment. The district said it would fix any damage done to the property.
“Defendant’s equipment busted and broke the concrete of plaintiffs’ driveway that leads to the lower portion of Plaintiffs’ property,” the complaint states. “During construction, defendant blocked off plaintiffs’ driveway with a large pile of gravel. This gravel was not stored on the construction easement. Plaintiffs did not give permission for this storage.”
The couple says a peach tree in their orchard also was damaged and killed by the defendant during construction of the sewer system. They say they also were told any manhole covers would be level with the ground so they could drive a lawnmower over them, but one manhole cover protrudes at least 8 inches above the ground.
“During construction, defendant spread gravel throughout plaintiffs’ property, including their orchard,” the complaint also states. “As of the filing of this complaint, there continues to be rocks and gravel strewn throughout plaintiffs’ property which interferes with plaintiffs’ ability to perform lawn maintenance.”
The Wiechmans also say the sewer district construction altered water runoff that destroyed a dirt and gravel driveway, preventing access to part of their property. The water runoff also is causing damage to part of their property. They said they have rented excavator equipment to try to address the runoff issue. They also say the defendant used their property as a dump site for discarded trees, dirt and rocks from other properties.
The couple accuses the defendant of six counts of breach of contract, one count of trespass and one count of injury to trees and plants. They seek compensatory damages for economic loss, including damages to their property, the taking of their property, and lowering of their property value as well as compensatory damages for mental anguish, annoyance, and inconvenience. They also seek punitive damages for the counts of trespass and injury to trees and plants.
Jake Polverini of Toriseva Law in Wheeling is representing the plaintiffs in both cases. He also is representing another Marshall County couple in a similar suit against the sewer district and the two contractors.
Kimberly Kelly and Jeff Gossett filed their complaint April 12 in Marshall Circuit Court, claiming a pump station was improperly built on their property
As for the new cases, the Blazier case has been assigned to Ohio Circuit Judge Michael J. Olejasz, and the Wiechmans’ case has been assigned to Marshall Circuit Judge Jeffrey Cramer.
Ohio Circuit Court case number 19-C-155 (Blazier); Marshall Circuit Court case number 19-C-150 (Wiechman)