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Seattle woman fight city over sewage settlement


An issue with raw sewage caused an elderly Seattle woman home to flood, not once, but twice!

Ivy Williams had raw sewage exploding through her bathroom toilet, which later caused damages around her home.

“It smelled like a toilet, a bad toilet,” said Williams.

It was December 2013 and she was about to enter a really crappy three year fight with the city.

When Williams first came across this issue, the city said her side-sewer was to blame for everything. Trusting the city Williams ended up paying more than $6,000 in upgrades she didn’t need.

“I was maxing out my credit card,” said Williams.

A couple of weeks after the repairs were done, Williams’s home was flooded again on Christmas Eve.

“The sewage water was exploding out of the toilet, again,” said Williams.

Then the city dropped off this note saying again her side-sewer was at fault. She complained to city council and before she knew it.

“A city worker knocked on my door and said they are fixing the pipe. And it was a breakage in the main pipe,” explained Williams.

That’s right – the city made repairs and the backups stopped.

The city then offered to settle Williams claim by the clean-up costs paid to the insurance company plus $764, for both floods.

Williams refused the amount that was offered by the city and got herself a lawyer.

Attorney Richard Maloney represents Williams and filed a lawsuit against the city on her behalf.

“They haven’t compensated her for her out of pocket loss, what she lost. They haven’t even paid back her insurance deductible. They flooded her twice, they wrecked her home they persuaded her to spend money she didn’t have and they are happy to compensate her insurance company and not her? Something is way upside down with that,” explained Maloney.

Seattle Public Utilities declined an on camera interview and directed us to the City Attorney’s office which said –

“Where, as here, the parties have differing views of liability or reasonable damages, litigation can be an appropriate dispute resolution tool.”

“For him to write and tell you that litigation is a good way to resolve conflict? Litigation is good for one class of people. It’s good for lawyers,” said Maloney.

For now Williams waits for her day in court in a situation she says that stinks all the way to South Seattle.

In its filed response to Williams lawsuit the city denies almost all of Williams’s assertions.

Her court date is now set for November.

If you’ve had an issue with the way your side-sewer issue was handled with the city, please drop me a note.


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