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Monday, December 14, 2015

Village Immune From Liability for Flooding to Home

Tort immunity laws protect municipalities and other governments from a variety of claims and liability. Section 2-201 of the Tort Immunity Act specifically provides immunity to a local government for the discretionary acts of its officials or employees in determining policy. That section was the subject of a lawsuit filed by homeowners against a village for damages relating to flooding in their home. 

In 2009, homeowners filed a lawsuit against the Village of LaMoille alleging they suffered damages caused by the Village's negligent maintenance of its storm sewer and drain. The homeowners claimed their property had flooded nine times between 2007 and 2009. They alleged that the Village was on notice of the condition of its sewer and drain, but failed to investigate and repair the drain. 

The Village defended against the action on various grounds. First, the Village argued it was immune from liability under the TIA because it engaged in discretionary policy decisions regarding maintenance and repair of the drain. Second, the Village argued that the homeowners could not establish that the flooding was caused by the storm sewer and drain versus extreme weather events.

On appeal, the appellate court ruled in favor of the Village and denied the homeowners claims for damages. The court first found that the Village was immune for liability for the flooding. Although the Village did have a duty to maintain its sewer and drains, state law does not maintain any particular schedule for maintenance, nor does it require a public entity to adopt a written policy. As a result, the Village had discretion to determine the need for maintenance or repair, and was not liable for the homeowners flooding damage. Clark v. Village of LaMoille, 2015 IL App (3d) 140669-U.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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