Government Law

Insurer sues Chicago and surrounding towns over 'geysers of sewer water' in policyholders' homes


A major insurer has filed a class action suit contending that officials in Chicago, nearby towns and the area’s water reclamation district have known for decades more storm water storage capacity was needed to prevent flooding but have not provided it.

As a result, says the lawsuit filed by Farmers Insurance, a heavy rainfall during mid-April 2013 flooded the homes or businesses of more than 600 of its policyholders, as “geysers of sewer water shot out from floor drains, toilets, showers and other basement floor openings in members of the plaintiffs’ class,” Courthouse News reports.

The Cook County Chancery Court action, which asserts claims of negligent maintenance, failure to remedy known dangerous conditions and illegal seizure, also names Cook County as a defendant.

Although the defendants have known for up to 40 years or more that climate change was increasing area rainfall, they “failed to provide safe, adequate stormwater control storage for stormwater, including but not limited to raising the banks such as through the use of quickly water-inflatable property protection systems, sandbags, or other quick solutions,” the suit contends.

It was filed on the insurer’s behalf by Stuart Brody with Sneckenberg, Thompson & Brody.

The Courthouse News article doesn’t include any comment from the defendants or their counsel.

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