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EDITORIAL: Layton, pay for water damage

By Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Feb. 10--The law can be Orwellian, or it can even be Dickensian. Both terms could nicely define a situation in Layton, in which the city's water main broke more than a year ago, flooding the basement of Sean and Brooke McClure's home with 4 feet of muddy water. The basement remains uninhabitable. According to the McClures, it needs about $85,000 in repairs. However, Layton's insurance provider, Utah Risk Management Mutual Association, won't pay.

According to URMMA claim adjuster Lyle Kunz, it's not the city's fault that its water main broke, adding this quotable phrase, "sometimes stuff happens."

This drama is almost worthy of a John Grisham lawyer novel. Perhaps in the odd world of legalese, a city's water main's breaking and effectively destroying a family's basement is not the city fault. But if this isn't Layton city's fault, then exactly who or what is at fault for the water main's breaking? Does anyone seriously believe that if the McClure's somehow owned a water main that broke and flooded a basement belonging to Layton city, the city would accept that "sometimes stuff happens." Doesn't a city have legal liability for its physical property when this kind of accident occurs?

Layton has provided $6,000 of "humanitarian assistance," and that's nice, but it's not the full, honest debt that is owed. Come on Layton city and URMMA, man up and do the right thing. Pay for the damage that Layton city's water main inflicted on the home of a Layton family. It's that simple, and it's the right thing to do. It's called common-sense justice.

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(c)2014 the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah)

Visit the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) at www.standard.net

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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