Flood Victims Seeking To Take Lansing To Court

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LANSING (WILX)-- Hundreds of homeowners blame Lansing for their flooded basements, and they want to take the city to court. The city says the problem will be fixed eventually, but some residents aren't willing to wait.

More than 360 homeowners want compensation for the flooding that happened on June 12th. Attorney Steve Liddle plans to represent the homeowners when he submits a class action lawsuit in September.

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"When you have this many homes that flood, there was clearly a systemic failure of the municipal delivery system," said Liddle, attorney for Macuga, Liddle & Dubin.

Liddle says anyone who had property damage, health issues, or diminution of property value from the June 12th sewage backup could be entitled to get money back from the city.

Colonial Village resident Florence Vandecar is one of the homeowners that will be represented by Liddle. This is the second time her basement has flooded in the past five years, and this time it caused more than $8 thousand dollars of damage.

The problem is that the new Lansing sewer system has smaller pipes to reduce the amount of sewage flowing into nearby rivers. With heavy rains the pipeline can't take the pressure, and causes backups in homes all around the city.

Vandecar says she's tried asking the city to take action and replace the pipes, but to no avail. She hopes that a lawsuit will make a difference.

"You keep going to meetings, but lately less and less people are attending.People are tired and working, and you start to think if your not going to get any answers why bother," said Vandecar.

Lansing's Public Service Director Chad Gamble is aware of the pending lawsuit, but says it would be far too expensive to install a new system of pipes that could handle some of the more massive rainstorms. There is a project called 'Syphon 11' that could correct the problem, but that project won't happen for at least another five years.

Liddle says he's still looking for victims that would like to join the lawsuit. All victims have until the 27th to be submitted to the city in order to receive any compensation.

All claims from the June 12th flooding have to be submitted by the 27th to the city.

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