Wave Of Flood Lawsuits May Hit Metro Detroit Next
|By Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
But last week -- like thousands of others across metro
"There's something that went wrong, something the city did not do," said Jackson, 70, a retired fire fighter who did not have insurance coverage for the backup. "We're not getting any help or answers from the city."
It's a feeling echoed by angry homeowners from
"People need to be well informed in order to protect their rights and to hold government accountable," said Jackson's
Thousands of homes and businesses in
Baydoun's law firm, the
Macuga, Liddle & Dubin, a law firm in metro
Dubin's law firm has filed numerous lawsuits over the years against cities including
The use of attorneys has concerned some city officials, who note that you don't need an attorney to fill out a flood claim, which is true. But attorneys say it helps to have a legal expert fill out the forms accurately and submit them to the right government agency. Residents have 45 days to fill out a form after the flood.
Dubin, Baydoun, and other attorneys say it's too early to say whether they will file lawsuits and are currently in the process of gathering information.
In their defense, city officials in metro
"This was an extraordinary storm,"
In March, Macuga, Liddle & Dubin filed a lawsuit against the
In one of the terse exchanges at a council meeting,
"Did you get any water in your basement?" she said.
"Yes, I did," he replied.
O'Reilly said he sympathizes with the residents of
"I know it's an emotional time, but we have to know what happened based on the data," O'Reilly said.
Dubin said that city officials often blame Mother Nature to avoid taking responsibility.
"If officials say, 'Hey, it's just an act of God,' it's doing a disservice to your residents and allowing the government to go on with business as usual, without doing a critical review," Dubin said.
"From 1998, 2000, and today, the cities keep on pointing the finger at Mother Nature," he said. "What's really going on is that they're trying to get people not to file their claims."
"The problem is that it lulls the population into a false sense of security," Dubin added. Residents think, "If that happens every 200 years ... I can go back and build my basement without getting hit in another 200 years, which isn't fair to the residents."
Dubin said in
The mayor said "everything has to be evaluated on the data," but added that "the system couldn't handle" such an unusually high amount of rain in such a short period.
But that's not a good enough excuse for Jackson and others.
Jackson said the solution is to "replace everyone at
"We help out all these other countries," he said. "How about helping out our own citizens?"
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